Gouna Management Holds General Meeting With Owners and Residents
|Mr. Mahmoud Baroudi waiting for audience to settle in their seats|
At the invitation of Gouna Management, the annual meeting that gathered Owners and Residents with Gouna Management was held at TUB on Tuesday 19th December, in the evening. It was well attended, for the hall was full.
Mr. Mahmoud el Baroudi, General Manager of El Gouna, had wished to connect with the community to present the latest status on what management is up to, but also to hear from the community.
Mr. Baroudi began by presenting slides of his management team, who were in attendance. The many branch heads were introduced to applause. He then presented Gouna’s vision statement : ’A first home sustainable beach town that provides an enhanced quality of living which caters to all needs of its community’.
He then went on to list the general concerns that he is aware of, previously addressed issues and improvements coming down the pipe, such as the new office near CIB that will group Customer Service and Finance and become a one stop shop for Gouna residents to transact with the El Gouna administration.
Mr. Baroudi then went on to display the public services financials for El Gouna : Revenues and Expenses. The first slide showed a pie chart of where service revenue originated (Owners, Hotels, etc..). The second chart showed the split, of expenses, in percentage terms, and their provenance. For the current year, a deficit of approximately 19 million EGP was apparent. This compared negatively, as per another chart, to other developments in Egypt. The Gouna yearly deficit had been smaller five years ago, less than 10 million EGP. But since then, the deficit from operations has widened, mainly due to higher salaries that Orascom is forced to pay, given the 30% inflation in Egypt in the last year, and due to increases in fuel and electricity. This deficit has been largely financed from other businesses owned by Orascom.
Mr. Baroudi was releasing a trial balloon. Given that owners contracts purportedly contain a 6% service charges increase cap, would Owners consent to an increase of 10% or 12% ? Operating with a deficit would mean the gradual erosion of services as management tried to cut costs. This brought some heated comments from owners centering on costs such as electricity brought on by new developments such as Mangroovy and others. Costs that are not yet being recovered in the P&L. Mr. Baroudi replied he would look into their impact on the deficit. An owner mentioned that there were many security staff, but the same job could be done by less if their efficiency was increased. Mr. Mohamed Ayoub, head of security responded that he needed more staff given that he was, as an example, patrolling the Gouna perimeter. However he is introducing more automation, such as using cards to operate gates, (with a trial at West Golf).
Since the meeting had reached the Question and Answer period, the microphone was passed back and forth to various members of the community with many subjects being addressed : There was clarification on the difference between paying property tax and registering property with the Egyptian Government. The stray dogs and cats problem, to which Ms. Nahawet Ali, head of Customer Service and from the audience, Gouna Stars eloquently responded. We learned that a private company was hired to collect stray dogs and process them. The problems with birds, such as pigeons, congregating and dirtying facades, to which a trial use of nettings or spikes will be attempted. The downtown area looking tired and needing some infrastructure facelift. Noise levels at parties that go on till early in the morning. To which there was consensus that this comes nearly exclusively from visitors renting and not from owners. Another owner was wondering how can El Gouna continue to grow without an expansion in supermarkets, since current outlets are tiny.
After two hours, the general assembly concluded. Mr. Maher al Faham, Gouna Owners Club President, thanked El Gouna Management for organizing the meeting and looking forward to progressing the issues in a spirit of cooperation, since owners and management ultimately share the same objective in keeping El Gouna as a premier destination.