The furniture sector suffered a 4% drop in the value of furniture exports during the period from January to August 2018 to record only $ 220 million, with the expectation of a further decline until the end of 2018, said Ehab Dreas, head of the Export Council of Furniture.
He pointed out that contrary to this trend and increase exports again, the export support system must be reviewed to restore the effectiveness of its programs, after the increase of export receivables of the Export Development Fund to about 10 billion pounds.
He said in a statement today that the Export Council prepared a memorandum to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Amr Nassar, explaining the reasons for the decline of exports of the sector, and possible quick action to address those reasons, especially as they are general problems affected all export sectors, The furniture in the export support fund, accumulated for more than two years, to the point that many companies have stopped submitting new forms to the Fund, to despair of the payment of dues.
On the other reasons, the decline in exports of the furniture sector, he explained that it is the new rules of the program to support the participation in the exhibitions, which were adopted without supply to the export councils, ignoring the different requirements of sectors and especially furniture, which caused the decline in the number of Egyptian companies participating in international exhibitions, Egypt's lack of participation in many exhibitions, including the Milan International Furniture Exhibition, the world's largest furniture industry, provided Egyptian companies with many opportunities to win export contracts.
He continued: Despite the attempts by furniture companies to resist and participate individually, the state encouraged them not to respond to the support of participation after the expiry of the exhibition for more than four months, contrary to what was approved by the new rules will not exceed the date of disbursement of support from the Export Development Authority no later than one month of completion of documents.
He pointed out that the memorandum of the Council presented in figures what the sector can achieve new job opportunities, investments and growth in exports if these problems are solved. The sector can provide about one million new jobs, attracting at least one billion dollars in investments and adding 4 billion dollars to Egypt's exports In accordance with the new strategy for the development of the furniture sector until 2025, prepared by the Export Council in cooperation with the Industrial Modernization Center, the Chamber of Wood Industry and Makari Consulting Company.
He said that the new strategy set seven main objectives for the sector, namely, increase the rate of growth of industrial production of the furniture sector from 5% to 7% currently to more than 8% per year, the growth rate target for the industrial sector for all, while reducing the sector's imports by working to produce local production The proportion of imports from 60 to 70 percent of the total domestic production is currently reduced to less than 40 percent in the final product, while the contribution of domestic feed industries in the final production has increased from 5 to 10 percent currently to 15 or 20 percent.
The strategy includes a number of axes and programs that will be implemented in the coming period, including the first axis to strengthen the institutional, organizational and legal framework. The strategy proposes establishing a new executive body to work on policy coordination, standardizing policies and issuing and updating regulations and laws governing private sector activity. And that there are many governmental and private bodies involved in the furniture sector such as the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and its various bodies, the General Authority for Investment and the Federation of Industries, along with the banking system and donor institutions and organizations Which highlights the importance of establishing a new executive body to coordinate policies and programs with all these actors.
For his part, Abdu Shulh, representative of the Export Council and the representative of the city of Damietta, stressed the keenness of the Export Council to open new markets for Egyptian exports to compensate for this decline in the value of exports, especially Damietta exports which depend on classical and modern furniture. He pointed out that the Council agreed to participate in an international exhibition being prepared for Syria will participate in the reconstruction of the country in the middle of next year. Four main sectors of Egypt will participate in this exhibition, namely furniture, building materials, engineering industries and home furnishings.
He added that the council also approved the organization of promotional missions for furniture products during the next fiscal year 2018/2019 to increase our exports to the markets of Kazakhstan and Russia, focusing on the city of St. Petersburg and a great attention to another mission to Kenya in Africa, which has already begun preparatory procedures in cooperation with various partners.
"The Export Council hopes to move the internal market of furniture to save the city of Damietta, which is suffering from a drop in sales, in light of the continued impact of the decision to float the pound, which led to high prices in the prices of raw materials, especially imported, which led to raise the prices of the product completely.
He added that the launch of the new session of the Fair and the Home on November 21, which will see several surprises will undoubtedly contribute to moving the local market as well as increasing exports, especially as it witnessed the participation of a large number of furniture companies, especially from the city of Damietta as well as the start of the Council work on the mission of the partners Foreigners for the cycle of February 2019 of the most important Egyptian furniture markets and a number more than what the last session of the exhibition.