Egypt’s Ministry of Housing, Utilities & Urban Development has resumed talks with Chinese firms for the development of the New Capital City project, a ministry spokesperson has told MEED.

Despite media reports earlier this month saying the government has re-signed several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with China Fortune Land Development and China State Construction Engineering(CSCEC), the ministry spokesperson told MEED “no agreements have been signed, but talks have restarted”.

The two Chinese companies had pulled out of the project’s first phase earlier this year over disputes surrounding land prices and contract requirements.

CSCEC was set to help finance the construction of the government’s ministerial district, while China Fortune had agreed to invest up to $20bn in the project’s first, second and third phase.

Since the fallout with the Chinese, Cairo has relied heavily on local contractors for the development of the first phase, particularly the ministerial district.

Local contractor Hassan Allam has been appointed as the main contractor for work on up to seven buildings in the proposed ministerial district.

State-owned Arab Contractors was also appointed earlier this year to carry out works on the new main parliament building within the same area.

Arab Contractors is currently working on about $150m-worth of infrastructure work in the New Capital City, which the company says will be completed by mid-2018.

More recently, local developer Talaat Mostafa completed the acquisition of 2.1 million square metres of land at the site of the New Capital City.

The firm purchased the land for £E4.4bn ($244m) and was among 15 other companies that submitted bids in March this year to develop schemes in the New Capital City.