Egypt News

Minister of Local Development: Implementation of 3,589 development projects in Qena and Sohag

The Minister of Local Development, Major General Mahmoud Shaarawi, said that the Upper Egypt Development Program, which was implemented in the governorates of Qena and Sohag, aims to raise the level and quality of infrastructure and improve the provision of local services to citizens.

The total number of projects funded in the first phase until the fiscal year 2020/2021 reached about 3589 projects in the two governorates (2187 projects in Sohag governorate, and 1402 projects in Qena governorate) at a total cost of about 9.5 billion pounds (5 billion for Sohag governorate and about 4.5 billion for Qena governorate) distributed On the sectors of drinking water, sewage, roads, transportation, canal coverage, economic development and strengthening local units, where 115 drinking water and sanitation projects were implemented with a total value of 2.759 billion pounds.

Shaarawy indicated that the program allocated an exceptional budget from the loan in the fiscal year 2020/2021, a value of 120 million pounds from the loan allocations, and the Ministry of Health contributed 53 million pounds to support precautionary measures and health activities to confront the repercussions of the spread of the Corona virus in the governorates of Sohag and Qena.

The total number of projects of the Roads and Transport Program, with the first phase plan until the fiscal year 2020/2021, amounted to about 964 projects with a total cost of 2.016 billion pounds in the two governorates, with a total length of 214 km paving and 91 road rehabilitation, and priority was given to road projects with economic returns, especially roads leading to Industrial zones and markets, which improve connectivity between cities and each other, so that the road network is integrated, especially for industrial zones.

The minister explained that the program is working in partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to annex and modernize four industrial zones in the governorates of Sohag and Qena (West Gerga, West Tahta in Sohag, Al-Haw, and Qift Qena) with a total investment of LE3.6 billion, out of a total investment of LE6 billion allocated to the four industrial areas in the two governorates.

Major General Mahmoud Shaarawy announced that more than 5 million citizens have benefited from the interventions of the program and more than 3,300 institutions, and the projects implemented by the program in the two governorates have contributed to providing a total number of 206 thousand direct and indirect job opportunities, and the number of companies and production units benefiting 3300 companies (691 companies) In the industrial zones, licenses for shops 2252, participating in the development of clusters 278), led to a significant reduction in poverty rates in the governorates of Sohag and Qena, as well as a remarkable development in the institutional structures and capabilities of human cadres working in the local administration in the two governorates, which prompted the Egyptian government and the World Bank to approve the extension Geographical program for the governorates of Minya and Assiut during the next phase.

The Minister of Local Development revealed that the program is based on the exchange-for-results process, meaning that the flow of funding is linked to the achievement of specific indicators related to the performance of the local administration, the quality of project implementation, adherence to environmental and social requirements, the development in the capacity of workers in local units, the development of occupancy rates in industrial areas, and the simplification of procedures for obtaining services. Oriented to citizens and businesses.

He pointed out that the governorates of Sohag and Qena, with the support of the Program Coordinating Office team in the ministry, succeeded in passing all previous evaluation courses, which amounted to 5 evaluation courses, with great success and obtaining more than 75% of the loan allocations, and it is expected that 100% of these allocations will be reached before October 2023. The program is evaluated periodically through the disbursement-related indicators. This exercise is considered an experiment with a results-based approach and linking financing to performance, whereby the loan amounts are withdrawn from the World Bank when the disbursement-related results are achieved to the Ministry of Finance.

On the structural changes to reform the local administration system, Major General Mahmoud Shaarawy explained that the program works to bring about structural changes to reform the local administration system by working on the policies / systems / areas of work of the local administration. Through a developed institutional structure (for the governorate / center / local unit) and the delegation of the governors in the competencies of some ministries, a mechanism for distributing financial allocations between the central and local levels, a formula for financial transfers between the governorate and centers, mechanisms and procedures for contracts and procurement, and governance of development management.

Shaarawy said that at the level of work systems, the program works to create an efficient and effective work system by developing areas of local development work and defining competencies between the governorate level and its affiliated centers, a developed system for local planning and another for training, capacity building, enhancing community participation, environmental considerations, and occupational health and safety. In addition to a system for evaluation and follow-up, short and medium-term performance indicators, the distribution of allocations between centers according to the criterion of population number, conditional financial transfers to each governorate, and the development of mechanisms for the development and mobilization of local financial resources.

On the participation of citizens in the governorates of Qena and Sohag and taking into account environmental considerations, the Minister of Local Development said that in light of the work on institutionalizing community participation to reflect the needs of local citizens and to participate in managing the development process through the various stages, noting that the process of participation took place through holding public consultation sessions with citizens. At the level of the local units of centers and villages, meetings of local development forums were held to review the plan and apply procedures for examining eligibility for projects to ascertain the position of the lands required for the project, and the development and implementation of compensation plans. Also, information was met to assess the expected social impacts, a social management plan was developed to mitigate it, and consultation sessions were held with citizens and stakeholders To discuss the draft environmental and social impact study and the operation and activation of the complaints mechanism at the level of subprojects. Information is also published and shared with citizens through the governorate’s website / social media pages.

With regard to the procedures for environmental and social considerations, Major General Mahmoud Shaarawy confirmed that a number of steps are being implemented, including the preparation of environmental and social impact studies for all projects financed by the loan and the local component that are subject to environmental classification starting from the fiscal year 2022/2021, and for any construction projects at least one consultation session is held. For each project during the preparation of the study and the completion of the annex to the assessment of social impacts prepared by the Program Coordination Office, in addition to an annex to the environmental, social and occupational health and safety requirements in the contracts of all projects that will be contracted after July 2021, and the publication of investment plans, technical and financial progress reports, final accounts The citizen’s budget on the governorate’s website periodically and the formation of a local development forum at the level of each administrative center according to the guide prepared by the Program Coordination Office and the creation of a page for the program on the social networking site “Facebook”.

For his part, Dr. Hisham El Helbawy, Director of the Local Development Program in Upper Egypt, explained that the program supports the achievement of six of the United Nations sustainable development goals, foremost of which is the first goal to eradicate poverty by pumping planned and massive investments in the areas of infrastructure, creating an enabling environment for business, and developing economic blocs with competitive advantage. Pointing out that these interventions have contributed to creating hundreds of thousands of job opportunities, increasing the real income of the residents of the two governorates, and reducing multidimensional poverty levels. The program has also contributed to achieving the sixth goal of clean water and sanitation by pumping nearly 40% of its investments into establishing Integrated sanitation projects and improving drinking water services, which contributed to increasing coverage rates of these services to unprecedented levels in the two governorates.

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