Egypt gov't received 1 million reconciliation requests over building violations: Minister

Al Ahram - 

Egypt has received over 1 million reconciliation requests over building violations nationwide, Local Development Minister Mahmoud Shaarawy announced on Tuesday. According to an official statement, Shaarawy said that around 1.1 million reconciliation requests have been received, adding that the state has collected approximately 6.9 billion (around $437 million) in reconciliation fees, as of 14 September, since the beginning of the first and second phase of receiving reconciliation requests on 15 July.

Shaarawy said that a large portion of the collected reconciliation fees will be allocated for development in governorates and upgrading the levels of services provided to citizens. He called on citizens seeking reconciliation to present their requests and make use of facilitations provided by the state to regulate their status, stressing the state’s determination to ban any new violations nationwide in the near future.

Egypt has provided facilitations to prompt citizens to reconcile over building violations, including reducing reconciliation fees over building violations by 20 to 70 percent in 23 governorates, with Cairo seeing higher discounts. Discounts ranging from 15 to 25 percent on reconciliation fees over building violations in new cities have also been announced.

Egypt has stressed in the past weeks its adoption of “resolute” measures to stop building violations on agricultural land nationwide. The country has seen a significant rise in illegal construction since the security vacuum that followed the 2011 uprising, with many people constructing multi-storey buildings without acquiring the necessary permits or complying with engineering safety standards.

Egypt lost up to 400,000 feddans between 1980 and 2011, and an additional 90,000 feddans in the past nine years, to building violations and land encroachments. Unplanned buildings constitute about 50 percent of the urban clusters in villages and cities countrywide, according to officials. In January, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ratified a law allowing settlement with the state over building violations, except for those pertaining to safety standards, authorised height or purpose, historic buildings, and others.

The law sets a six-month deadline, which will expire by the end of this month, to put an end to violations in the country. In late August, El-Sisi slammed building violations on agricultural land in a heated speech, and warned that he would deploy the army if the problem persists.