Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities asked the Ministry of Finance to allocate EGP 10m in wages and salaries for the Grand Egyptian Museum’s employees in the state budget of fiscal year (FY) 2017/2018, according to an official at the Ministry of Antiquities.
The official said that the government has decided five months ago to transform the Grand Egyptian Museum into an economic body, so that it can achieve revenues that will enable the museum to cover its needs. However, the project is scheduled to be opened in July 2018, and the museum has no financial resources at this time.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has approved the Ministry of Antiquities’ request to increase the loan allocated for the establishment of the Grand Egyptian Museum to $700m instead of $300m.
The cost of establishing the museum is estimated at $1bn, of which $860m is provided by JICA.
Established on 117 feddans, the Grand Egyptian Museum is set to be the world’s largest museum, with the main exhibition built on a third of its total area. The museum includes entertainment facilities and commercial buildings next to the museum garden, all of which make the museum a new monument by itself—ready to welcome 8 million visitors per year. The Ministry of Antiquities intends to transfer 2,000 antiquities to the Grand Egyptian Museum this year in preparation for the partial opening of the museum.
More than 40,000 artifacts were transferred to the museum’s restoration centre, of which 31,000 monuments have been restored, including 2,700 artifacts belonging to King Tutankhamun, according to the project’s supervisor, Tareq Tawfik, in a previous press statement to Daily News Egypt.
The Grand Egyptian Museum will be one of the most important monuments in Egypt after the completion of the project in 2022, aiming to provide more tourist inflow to Egypt and tourism revenues, according to the general supervisor of the project, adding that the project is a big leap in the projects implemented by the ministry during the recent period.
The Ministry of Antiquities hopes to partially open the Grand Egyptian Museum in the first half of 2018, while the museum will be fully opened in 2022.
Tawfik added that the ministry has completed the construction phase representing 52% of the total project.
He pointed out the ministry is now working on completing the interior exhibits and the outdoor squares, which includes green areas and parks.
Tawfik said the estimated cost of the project is $1bn, which is likely to increase after the Central Bank of Egypt’s decision to float the exchange rate.
JICA has secured $860m of the total project’s cost in a facilitated loan, while the Egyptian government provided $250m.
The main building is located on an area of 160,000 square metres—making it the world’s largest exhibition. The museum includes 14 restoration labs for all antiquities: wooden, heavy (more than 250 kg), and small antiquities, as well as the Grand Stairwell—on which 100 king statues will be placed to showcase the different eras of Ancient Egyptian history—in addition to a conference hall that can accommodate up to 1,000 visitors a day.