CAIRO: Egypt wants to encourage foreign oil companies in the country to increase exploration and production in exchange for a more rapid repayment of $6bn it owes them, its finance minister said yesterday.
The government also plans to repay 2.5bn to 4bn Egyptian pounds ($363m to $580m) in arrears owed to local contractors by around mid-October, Ahmed Galal said in an interview.
The government’s ability to pay oil companies and contractors was hit after the popular uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011 frightened away tourists and investors, cutting into tax revenue.
“Right now the rescheduling of the debts is under review in exchange for the companies investing in drilling and exploring for oil and increasing production and such things. And that is beneficial to both parties,” Galal said.