FILE - Egyptian Parliament FILE - Egyptian Parliament

Egyptian Parliament Weekly Brief

Thu, May. 31, 2018
CAIRO – 31 May 2018: With a busy week in Parliament over, Egypt Today provides a comprehensive wrap up of the Egyptian Parliament’s proceedings for the week.

With a busy session, during which Parliament has approved 111 bills and 32 international agreements, it is important to keep up with the daily and weekly updates of Parliament.

Since the start of its third regular session on October 3, 2017, the House of Representatives

has

endorsed 111 draft laws and 32 international agreements.

The bills, draft laws and agreements aimed to upgrade the different sectors in Egypt and improve the lives of citizens. Among the top sectors addressed during the past few months since October are: health care, supporting workers and youth rights, countering corruption and easing investment measures, said spokesman for the parliament Salah Hassaballah in a press conference Tuesday.

Hassaballah pointed to examples from the different bills, most notably bills on health and social insurance, rights of persons with disabilities, trade unions and nuclear energy.

The spokesman for the parliament also mentioned some of the key topics that will be on the table for the next period, most notably the draft law regulating the press and media, and another draft law regulating criminal procedures that will contain about 600 articles.

Highlight of the week:

House of Representatives is ready for President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to take the oath of office for his second term

As part of the final preparations for the special session expected to be held next Saturday, June 2, that will witness current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi taking the oath for his second term in office, the buildings of the parliament adorned the Egyptian flag.

MP Salah Hasaballah, the media spokesman for the House of Representatives, confirmed that the House of Representatives is ready for President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to take the oath of office for his second term as Head of State, scheduled for early next week; all organizational procedures have been completed and all Members of Parliament are expected to be present during the oath.

Hasaballah also said that the media is one of the bridges between the Council and the Egyptians; it acts as a tool to clarify the council’s legislation and process, explains Hasaballah.

In a press conference to review the achievements of parliament, Hasaballah stressed that the state and the government has to take many difficult decisions, however, those decisions are in the interest of the citizen. The spokesperson added that the House has high hopes and aspirations to provide a high-quality life for the citizen.

Hasaballah added that there are a number of questions presented to the House, and that these questions will be on the agenda during the coming period. He further pointed out that pointing out that a number of ministers did not work to the level aspired for by the House, while others were very active and communicated excellently with Members of Parliament; Hasaballah confirmed that assessments of the performance of ministers was objective, not personal.

Top news of the week

Parliament to pass Media and Press Law

During the current session, the Parliament is set to pass a

law

to regulate media and press, Undersecretary of the Culture and Information Committee of the Parliament, Gamal Fahmy stated.

In press remarks on Tuesday, Fahmy said that the issuance of the law was delayed as some of its articles were re-considered by the Parliament, adding that the proposed law will be presented to the Press Syndicate’s high board for the final approval.

Hatem Zakaria, secretary general of the press syndicate, further disclosed that the syndicate and Supreme Council for Media regulation (SCMR) delivered their comments on the bill to the Parliament, asserting that the legislators ensure their commitment to the Egyptian Constitution, which enshrines the freedom of thought, opinion and expression.

In January 2017, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi issued a law establishing a syndicate for audio-visual media personnel, following the Parliament’s approval. The Media Syndicate is responsible for regulating audio-visual media practices, as well as defending its members.

The Supreme Council for Media Regulations was established on December 24, 2016 after President Sisi issued Law No. 92 of 2016 on the Institutional Organization of the Press and Media as an independent body with a corporate personality.

The role of the council is to regulate and supervise media outlets in all forms: printed, broadcast and electronic; it establishes the framework and standards necessary to ensure that media outlets abide by the rules and ethics of the profession.

Teachers will be trained to the highest of levels: Committee of Education and Scientific Research in the House of Representatives

Dr. Magda Nasr, Member of the Committee of Education and Scientific Research in the House of Representatives, said that Dr. Tarek Shawky, Minister of Education, spoke during a previous meeting of the Committee on the Ministry's plan to train teachers in the new development system. There was a confirmation that there are companies and foreign parties will train teachers, Experienced and high quality entities.

Dr. Nasr also revealed that the teachers’ salaries are set to see an increase and confirmed that

Microsoft will train 600,000 Egyptian teachers

to use modern technology over the next few years, as Mark East, General Manager of Microsoft EMEA & ASIA Education Industry Group, has previously said to MENA’s Kuwait office.

“Microsoft Schools depends on converting all schools to technology schools by using computers and introducing the internet into the educational system,” East said.

“The latest studies conducted by the company pointed out that, by 2030, about 70 percent of the schools around the world will depend on technology in their system, meaning that all students in primary schools should learn to use technology now in order to be able to develop the labor market,” he added.

Teachers of Thanaweya Amma would receive different training from the one delivered to teachers in primary and middle schools. What’s more, the contracts and administrative affairs of teachers would be restructured to improve their living and professional conditions.

The ministry is also working on preserving its financial resources by shifting into a digital format of the curriculum saving the costs of printing books. In addition, children of martyrs or inured officers would be exempted from tuition fees in public schools.

As it stands,

the ministry aims to finalize the new system by October 2018

. The system includes changing the Thanaweya Amma system which in turn requires the Supreme Council of Universities to change the admission requirements for each school.

Acording to Mohamed Hani Abaza, deputy head of the Parliament’s Education Committee, that the new educational system aims to strengthen the [youth’s] sense of belongingness to the country.

“Is the current system with its exams, teachers and private lessons satisfying?” Abaza said in an interview with Wael al-Ebrashi on Dream, denouncing the objection of some students’ parents to the new system.

Abaza

called on the Ministry of Education to illustrate to the parents the new system, ignoring the rumors saying that education according to the new system will be harder.

Abaza said that changing the educational system is a very critical issue that the outdated Egyptian regimes did not dare to mess with it.

Personal Data Law on top of the agenda for the coming period

Deputy Speaker of the Communications and Information Technology Committee, Ahmed Mohamed Zaidan, confirmed that the Personal Data protection Law is a top priority for the Committee, given its importance in maintaining user data, especially during commercial transactions via the Internet.

He pointed out that the committee will start preliminary discussions is therefore likely to be done during the fourth session.

Zidane told Egypt Today that the committee will also the e-commerce law, which regulates the various trade relations that take place through the Internet, discuss during the fourth session.

He pointed out that the House recently concluded the adoption of the Electronic Crime Law that targets crimes carried out over the internet; the crimes previously had no pre-defined penalties. Zidane explained that the Personal Data Law aims at preserving the lives of citizens; the deputy cited the murder case of the student at the Faculty of Engineering, which occurred as a result of a breach of information that came through his dealings through selling and buying through an online site.

Members of Parliament call for action:

Parliament’s Religion Affairs and Endowments Committee calls on the government to take action against ads of charlatanry on TV channels

Dr. Omar Hamroush, Secretary of the Religious Affairs and Endowments committee in the House of Representatives, said he would make an urgent request to the Speaker of the Parliament Dr. Ali Abdel Aal on adverts of charlatanry, sorcery and unlicensed medical treatments on TV channels.

Commenting on the issue to Egypt Today, the Secretary revealed that there has recently been an increase of these kinds of ads and that they have the potential to harm citizens, as they spread lies and false information. He stressed the need to take necessary action through the Consumer Protection, adding that the government needs to move against channels broadcasting these kinds of adverts.

Irrigation systems are the best solution for facing the water shortage crisis

MP Mahmoud Shalan, Member of the Committee on Agriculture and Irrigation in the House of Representatives, said that there are many ideas through which Egypt can address the water crisis and manage its resources of water appropriately. Shalan noted that the Ministry of Irrigation has developed a specific time plan for alternative measures and solutions to deal with the water crisis.

The member of the Committee on Agriculture and Irrigation told Egypt Today in statements that the first and most appropriate to be followed is the expansion of the use of water treatment plants, whether for drinking or irrigation in agriculture, stressing that large quantities of water are wasted without benefit.

He pointed out that the irrigation system, which was recently developed, is the best solution to address the water shortage crisis; he stressed the need for the proper application of the irrigation system developed.

Previously, Dr. Mohamed Abdel Aati, Minister of Irrigation, said that the next stage will be the search for new outside-the-box ideas to manage the water resources system. The new and renewable energies will also be expanded in managing the irrigation and drainage facilities to meet the country's water needs. Abdel Aati pointed out that Egypt is suffering a water crisis; the water deficit is 20 billion cubic meters annually.

Local Administration Committee in Parliament calls for the restructuring of the specialized police and increasing its budget

On Tuesday, the Local Administration Committee of the House of Representatives called for the restructuring of the specialized police through increasing budgets, especially for traffic and facilities officers.

“This is a repeated demand based on a real discussions based on multiple briefings at the state level; the discussion always concludes that the human and material resources are too small and must be doubled,” Engineer Ahmed El-Sageny, Head of the Parliament’s Local Administration Committee, said during the committee's meeting on Tuesday.

Sageny’s comments came during the discussion of the request for briefing by MP Mohamed Al-Husseini on the severe negligence in restoring the collapsed iron fences and other securing facilities on the bridges in the Boulaq El-Dakrour district. The briefing also discussed the lack of traffic services in Boulaq and demanded fixed traffic services in the district.

Major General Mohammed Darwish, Deputy Director General of Giza Traffic, said that two services will be assigned in places currently suffering from lack of traffic services, and a special fixed radar will be set for the Saft Al-Laban axis, indicating that they are working with limited physical and human resources and that they need an increase in human power and budget.

Law regulating the press and criminal procedures to come before the closing of the regular session

Spokesman for the parliament Salah Hassaballah said in a press conference Tuesday that since the start of its third regular session on October 3, 2017, the House of Representatives has endorsed 111 draft laws and 32 international agreements.

The spokesperson added that during the remainder of the regular session, the law regulating the press and the media, and the Code of Criminal Procedure, which is close to 600 legal texts, will be done. Of the 600 legal texts, 400 are expected to be amended.

Hassaballah stressed that the Parliament is seeking to complete the law on Local Administration in the current session.

He explained that the Parliament had passed 32 international conventions on various educational and environmental grants and services, and discussed 385 requests for briefings and 303 urgent statements during this session.

Foreign Relations Committee meets with a delegation of the United States Congress’ consultants and assistants

After two Egyptian delegations visited the United States’ Congress to enhance the partnership between the two countries and capitalize on expertise, an American delegation has come to Egypt to discuss ways for both countries to cooperate and find ways to mutually support one another, as well as tightening legislative cooperation between the Egyptian parliament and the U.S. Congress.

Aside from the committee, the meeting saw Dana Stroll, senior technical officer at the Senate Minority Affairs Committee, Margaret Taylor, senior adviser to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mira Kogen Resnick, chief technical officer of the Democratic House Committee on Homeland Affairs, and Nicole Burica, legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Tim Kaine.

Local Administration Committee discussed garbage control, bad road conditions

The Local Administration Committee in the House of Representatives held two meetings on Monday to discuss some of the notes submitted by MPs concerning the spread of garbage in the governorates, cities and villages across the country. The notes submitted also addressed the negative effects caused by the spread of garbage, such as the destruction of agrarian products for farmers and their homes and the trashing of the Chest Hospital in Omraneya; these negative aspects are due to lack of recycling and a severe shortage in cleaners, the notes suggested.

The meetings also discussed bad road conditions, the poor condition of the Imbaba bridge, the deterioration of the road network in the city of Al-Saff, as well as delays in the entitlements of workers in special funds, the existence of an imbalance in the population census of Bulaq al-Dakrour region, meaning too many people live there, and the severe shortage of subsidized bread in all governorates.

Social media sites impose danger on Egypt's security

Deputy Member of Parliament's National Security and Defense Committee, Yehia al-Kedwany, stated that

Social media sites impose danger on the country's security

.

Explaining his opinion, he said that social media sites violate the country's traditions and laws as many supportive pages to terrorism are created without observation or censorship.

“I renew my request to the Ministry of Interior to follow up all the Facebook pages that are created to sell monuments, in addition to the pages inciting terrorism,” he said to Egypt Today.

He added that suspicious Facebook pages must be closed immediately and that all pages should be observed and controlled to maintain the national security of the country, stressing that this cannot be considered as narrowing freedoms.

MPs call to impose tax on social media and Google

Members of the Parliament call to

impose a tax

on advertisements posted on social media websites and Google as it would be an important source of revenues for the treasury.

MP Mustafa Bakri stressed that social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook as well as Google earns millions from posting ads and making use of the Egyptian online news industry, but they find many ways to avoid paying taxes; Bakri criticized the absence of legal mechanisms to impose taxes on them.

In the same context, MP Mohamed Fouad referred that tax collection poses a great problem as most of social media websites do not have representative offices in Egypt; hence, they are not subject to Law No. 9 of 2013 for the stamp tax.

Deputy of the Local Administration Committee calls on the government to develop the cleaning committees in Cairo and Giza

Mohamed al-Husseini, the Deputy of the Local Administration Committee called on the government to present a vision and subsequent plan for the development of the cleaning committee in the governorates of Cairo and Giza. He further called on the government to avoid laying off their cleaning staff.

Husseini added during the meeting, which was headed by Engineer Ahmed El-Sageny Monday, that the development of cleaning bodies are needed, pointing out that the cleaning committee has the capacity to become better and provide a much better service. He also stressed that the cleaning bodies in Cairo and Giza need to be headed by those who have business-oriented minds to ensure they function best, as this would ensure profit and top quality.

On the Horizon:

Religious Affairs and Endowments Committee in Parliament to discuss the issue of public fatwa and the renewal of religious discourse next week

The Committee on Religious Affairs and Endowments in the House of Representatives, headed by Dr. Osama Al-Abd, will hold six meetings next week, starting June 3, 2018, with the aim of concluding on some draft laws, most notably the draft of the General Fatwa Law, the draft law of Dar Al Ifta, as well as conducting a number of briefing sessions.

The Religious Affairs Committee will hold two meetings next Monday to discuss a request for a briefing on the demolition of the primary religious institute in the Sohag governorate four years ago; the institute has not been re-built as of yet. It will also discuss a request for a briefing on: the neglect of the Quran memorization centres in various parts of Egypt; handing over the land of Al-Azhar University in the new city of Burj Al-Arab to Al-Azhar University; and discussing a request for a briefing on the installation of surveillance cameras in the Azhar institutes (inside and outside the classrooms).

During its meetings on Tuesday, the committee will discuss a request for a briefing on the limited amount of imams, workers and mosque mattresses, as well as the poor maintenance in the mosques of the Minya governorate.

Communications and Information Technology Committee scedules meeting to discuss draft law on General Authority for Support and Decision-Making

The Communications and Information Technology Committee in the House of Representatives scheduled a meeting June 7 to complete the discussion of the draft law submitted by MP Mohammed Khalifa and ten members of the House of Representatives on the General Authority for Support and Decision-Making. It is expected that a preliminary approval will come shortly after said hearing.

The decision to schedule a meeting on June 7 came after MP Khalifa revealed that he will make some amendments in the draft law, as a result of what he heard from the representative of the Ministry of Communications and the President of the Center for Support and Decision-Making.

Four requests for a briefing for the Minister of Electricity in front of Energy and Environment Committee in parliament next Tuesday

Energy and Environment Committee of the House of Representatives, headed by Engineer Talaat al-Sewedy, will hold a meeting Tuesday morning to discuss a number of issues that came in briefings submitted by Members of Parliament for the attention of Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Mohammed Shaker.

Multiple requests for briefing have been submitted, notably one by Member of Parliament Salah Shawky Akel for the failure of the Sohag electricity sector

Most notably, there was a request from MP Wafaa Salah Shawqi Aqeel for the failure of the Sohag electricity sector, represented in the electrical engineering of Tama, in implementing high pressure conversion cables in Al-Atamna Village, Sohag, despite it being included in the strategic plan for financial year 2017/18.

Social Solidarity Committee in Parliament pushed meetings to week starting June 3

The Social Solidarity Committee of the House of Representatives has postponed the three meetings previously scheduled to take place Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week, to next week.

The Social Solidarity Committee of the House of Representatives will hold meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to discuss a number of draft laws, foremost of which is the consideration of the Prime Minister's decision on the draft law concerning the National Council for People with Special Needs.

The committee will open its three scheduled meetings Tuesday by discussing the government's decision to issue the National Council for People with Special Needs and will look at a draft law submitted by the deputies in this regard.

Invitations to attend the meetings were extended to the Ministries of Justice, Finance and Social Solidarity and representatives of the National Council for Disability Affairs.

The committee will also discuss the draft law of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood submitted by a number of MPs. The committee will conclude its meetings Thursday, discussing a draft law submitted by one of the MPs on the establishment of the National Council for the Care of Orphans Affairs and their guardians.

Laws addressing periodic increases of pensions and wages scheduled for second week of June

MP Mohamed Wahaballah, Deputy of the Manpower Committee in Parliament, confirmed Tuesday that the laws addressing periodic increases of pensions and wages have been scheduled to take place in the second week of June. The government will refer the laws to the Egyptian Parliament by that time, confirms Wahaballah; the benefits of this increase must be done before the start of the new fiscal year scheduled for the first of July.

Wahaballah stressed that the parliament expects the increase in pensions and wages to be more than last year, given the rise in prices. This increase is also expected, the Deputy explains, due to the government’s commitment to provide good social protection and to mitigate and limit the negative effects that could impact citizens as a result of the implementation of the economic reform program.

The Prime Minister had confirmed during his most recent visit to parliament that the government is still studying the law.

In Brief: Foreign Parliaments on Egypt:

Germany seeks to economically support Egypt

On Sunday, during a meeting with Members of Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee in the attendance of German Ambassador in Cairo Julius Georg, Member of Parliament Alexander Radwan

said

that Germany wants to economically support Egypt and encourage it to play its key role in the region.

“The image of the moderate Islam should be shown to the West, said Radwan, pointing at the important role of Islamic institutions, topped by Al-Azhar,” wrote MENA.

The meeting touched on numerous regional issues including the Syrian, Libyan and Yemeni crises.

A positive outcome

A look into Egypt's Protection of Antiquities Law

Egyptian tourism has

witnessed

a quite recovery in 2018 as booking are up by 89 per cent. Yet, the country always suffered from sellers and vendors who have a reputation for harassing tourists. Fortunately, a new law has been put in place by the Egyptian parliament banning street vendors from harassing tourists near popular attractions.

The Parliament has approved the new Protection of Antiquities Law last month, including Article 53 that regulated the penalties of harassing tourists.

Under the new law, “Unless there is a tougher penalty stipulated in any other law, whoever harasses tourists or visitors of archaeological sites or museums, with the intention of begging or promoting, offering or selling a good or service, shall be punished with a fine of not less than LE 3,000 ($169) and not more than LE 10,000.”

MP Ehab al-Tamawy called for toughening the punishment to reach a fine of LE 20,000. Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enani and MP Osama Heikal, head of the Culture and Media Committee in Parliament, supported Tamawy’s suggestion, but other MPs refused to increase the penalty.

Parliament Speaker Ali Abdul Aal said, “There is no such penalty in any other country and the toughening of the punishment will not eradicate the phenomenon. Increasing the awareness about the nuisance of such acts among the society can contribute to ending them.”
 
There are no comments on this article.

Leave a comment