Egypt’s prime minister has issued a decree determining the technical and financial conditions that must be met by investors to qualify for waivered land fees in the Upper Egypt area.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Trade and Industry told MEED in an emailed statement that the decree has been issued and will be made public in the official gazette in the coming days.

The decree states that local and international investors will be granted free plots of land not exceeding 40,000 square metres per project for industrial schemes that are “labour heavy and work on increasing the ratio of local components or those that export production.”

It is understood that the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) will be in charge of approving projects that qualify for the incentive, which also stipulates that investors must start construction within a year.

The decree also sets a deadline for granting lands in Aswan, Luxor, New Valley, Sohag, Assiut, Beni Suef, and Qena by March 2020.

The move to offer free plots of land to investors is part of Cairo’s efforts to encourage more private sector and foreign interest in industrial projects across the country.

In late 2016 the Minister of Trade and Industry Tarek Qabil launched Cairo’s Industrial Plan 2020, which aims to boost non-oil exports by 10 per cent a year to $30bn by 2020.

The total volume of Egyptian non-petroleum exports reached about $18.6bn in 2015. Qabil said in late 2016: “the ministry plans on implementing a number of programmes to improve procedures and legislations regulating Egypt’s import-export industry”.

The strategy also targets upgrading the competitiveness of Egypt’s exports, improving the specifications and qualities of exports and imports, developing logistical and transport projects, activating global agreements as well as a programme aiming at promoting Egyptian exports.