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Egypt to sell land to citizens abroad to get cash

Egypt to sell land to citizens abroad to get cash

Egypt's cash-strapped government has approved a plan to raise $3 billion by selling state land to Egyptians living abroad, a government minister told reporters on Wednesday.

February 2, 2012 1:30 by

Faiza Abu el-Naga, Egypt’s minister for planning and international cooperation, said buyers would be required to pay for the land in dollars.

A year of political and economic turmoil has widened the country’s budget and balance of payments deficits and halved its foreign reserves to $18 billion.

In mid-January, Egypt said it had formally asked the International Monetary Fund for a $3.2 billion aid package to plug the financing gap. It said it wanted the money as soon as possible and hoped an agreement would be signed within weeks.

Abu el-Naga said the government would sell an initial 8,625 lots in seven satellite cities around major urban centres for between $150 and $500 per square metre..

She did not give a date for when the lots would be sold, but said more revenue would be raised in two subsequent land sales, bringing the total number of lots to be offered to 40,000. (Reporting by Patrick Werr; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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