Egypt’s Sisi calls on House of Representatives to convene on October 1



Mon, 25 Sep 2023 - 07:03 GMT


Mon, 25 Sep 2023 - 07:03 GMT

File- Members of Parliament start voting on the newly-proposed amendments to the 2014 Constitution on Thursday- Egypt Today/Hazem abdel-Samad

File- Members of Parliament start voting on the newly-proposed amendments to the 2014 Constitution on Thursday- Egypt Today/Hazem abdel-Samad

CAIRO – 25 September 2023: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi called on the House of Representative (the lower house of the parliament) to convene and start a fourth legislative session on October 1, 2023 at 11:00 a.m.


In June 2023, the third legislative session of the House of Representatives wrapped up after nine months of passing important laws and amendments.


The Egyptian House of Representatives (HOR) approved new amendments to law no.161 for 2022, which concerns the purchase of tax-free car imports for Egyptian expatriates.


The new amendments aim to facilitate procedures and eliminate challenges faced by Egyptians residing abroad, when purchasing tax exempt import cars for personal use, by reducing 70 percent of total customs fees imposed on the cars.


The only fees expats are required to pay now are: 30 percent of customs fees, total development fee and total value added tax (VAT), paid in foreign currency, which will be recovered after five years from the date of payments.


The aforementioned amendments also include increasing the duration of importing cars up to five years, instead of one, and lifting the ban on selling these cars.


Moreover, Egyptian expats who previously deposited the full amount of money stated in the law - before the new amendments - will be paid back with the reduced amount of money in six months.


In October 2022, Egypt released an initiative allowing each Egyptian expatriate to import one tax free car for personal use, in an attempt to increase the country’s dollar resources.


Exempting mobile phone parts of taxes


House of Representatives’ planning and budget committee approved a new amendment to law no.147 for 1984, lifting taxes imposed on production components for mobile phones, in order to encourage local production.


The amendment aims to lift the tax of “advancing financial resources” off both the components needed for local mobile phones production and the locally manufactured end product, while maintaining the same tax on imported counterparts used for commercial gains.


Suez Canal Authority Fund


The House of Representatives approved a law presented by the government on amending some articles of Law 30 of 1975 on the Suez Canal Authority system.


The approval came during a session under Speaker Hanafi Gebali.


The amendment aims at establishing a fund belonging to the authority and increasing its capabilities to contribute to achieving sustainable economic development and make use of the fund's money as well as enabling the fund to purchase, sell, hire and exploit assets in the best way.


The amendment also aims at enabling the authority to deal with crises and emergency conditions resulting from exceptional circumstances and bad economic conditions.

It also aims at enabling the authority to perform its economic and investment activities and increase its capital and investments in securities.


According to the text of Article 43 of the Constitution, the state is committed to protecting, developing, and preserving the Suez Canal as an international waterway owned by it, and obliges it to develop the canal sector, as it is a distinguished economic center.


The approval report of the law indicated that in light of the current economic conditions the world is witnessing, and given the challenges facing the Suez Canal including the decline in global trade rates as an impact of the repercussions of the Corona virus, and the fluctuation of crude oil prices and its repercussions on the costs of shipping various commodities and goods, it has become important to develop the facility [Suez Canal].


Naturalized women pass down Egyptian nationality 


President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ratified an amendment to the Egyptian nationality law, granting naturalized women the right to pass the nationality down to their minor children. 


Law No. 28 of 2023 amended some provisions of Law No. 26 of 1975 on the Egyptian nationality to be more in line with the constitution, international law, and women’s rights.


A mother who was naturalized after being born in Egypt or who originally comes from an Arab speaking country or one with a Muslim majority may now give the Egyptian nationality to her minor kids. Earlier, the law only gave that right to fathers. 


In the early 2000s, Egypt allowed the children of Egyptian women and foreign men to carry the nationality. 


Unified Tax Law


The House of Representatives, under Speaker Hanafi Gebali, approved the new amendments to the 2020 Unified Tax Procedures Law that were submitted by the government.


On December 6, the Parliament referred the amendments to the Budget and Planning Committee, the Office of the Constitutional Affairs, and the Economic Affairs Committee for review.


"The amendment complies with international agreements signed by Egypt and other countries that are members of the Global Forum for Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes," Gebali said on the new amendments.


In light of the amendments, a paragraph will be added to article 78 of the CBE law, which stipulates that articles 140 and 142 of CBE law on the secrecy of banking accounts will not prevent banks from exchanging secret information on the personal accounts of their clients in compliance with international tax agreements effective in Egypt.


The Finance Ministry has earlier dismissed groundless reports that the new amendment will breach the secrecy of the personal banking accounts of ordinary citizens.


The ministry stressed the new amendment is only concerned with the exchange of information approved by the international agreements effective in Egypt and is by no means related to disclosing information on personal accounts and deposits of citizens in Egyptian banks or divulging their industrial, commercial and professional secrets.


The Egyptian Government issued the Unified Tax Procedures Law No. 206 of 2020, amending certain articles of the income tax law, value added tax law, stamp tax, state development tax, and other similar taxes. The Unified Tax Procedures Law No. 206 became effective as of October 20, 2020.


In summary, the newly issued law aims to establish unified tax procedures for filing and regulating direct and indirect taxes. As such, taxpayers will have a single tax code for their tax registration for the different types of taxes.


The key issues addressed by the law involve filing of returns, financial penalties, rights and obligations of the Egyptian Tax Authority (ETA), and taxpayers as relevant to tax audit, appeal, refund, documentation retention, etc.



Laws on bank establishment 


The House of Representatives approved a draft law submitted by the government to amend previous laws related to the establishment of banks.


The draft law aims to control and regulate the legal rules that govern banks, and improve the performance of state-owned banks to serve the Egyptian economy.


The draft law abolished some of the laws regulating the work of these banks so that they are subject to the general rules stipulated in the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) law.


The draft law aims to unify the legal system to which all banks operate in Egypt. It also aims to liberate the aforementioned banks from legislative restrictions that hinder their development and strengthen their governance.


The draft law also aims to achieve equality among all banks so that they all operate without discriminatory treatment, under the umbrella of the general rules regulating banks operating in Egypt and stipulated in the Central Bank and Banking System Law promulgated by Law No. 194 of 2020.


The draft law included four articles. The first article stipulates canceling the laws related to the establishment of the Arab Federal Bank for Development and Investment, the Egyptian Export Development Bank, and the Agricultural Bank of Egypt (ABE)”, established by Laws No. 1 of the year 1971, 15 of 1983 and 81 of 2016, respectively.


Article 2 states that the Arab Investment Bank and the Egyptian Bank for Export Development are licensed banks in accordance with the provisions of the Central Bank and Banking System Law, and the shares of ABE are wholly owned by the state in accordance with the provisions of the same law.


Article Three states: The boards of directors of the three banks subject to the abolition of the draft law, with their current formations, will continue to carry out their duties and specializations until the end of their term for stability considerations.


Article Four states: The law shall be published in the Official Gazette, and shall come into effect from the day following the date of its publication.


Income Tax Law


The House of Representatives approved new amendments to the Income Tax Law no.91/2005 on Monday, with the goal of increasing the annual income tax exemption from LE 24,000 to LE 36,000.


Changes included implementing a 27.5% tax on individuals earning an annual income over LE 1.2 million, compared to the previous rate of 25 percent, explained Yasser Amr, the Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives, to local news outlets.


The amendments are part of efforts to promote social justice by increasing the threshold for annual income tax exemption to LE 36,000. It also aims to introduce a higher income tax rate for individuals with substantial incomes.


The income tax imposed on individuals earning more than LE 1.2 million annually is expected to generate around LE 4 billion, said Mohamed Maait, Finance Minister, in a separate statement. This will cost the state treasury around LE 10 billion, with the net cost of these tax exemptions estimated at LE 6 billion.


The finance minister added that there will be further income tax exemptions in the coming fiscal year to support low and average-income groups, but also clarified that his ministry has no intention of increasing taxes on industrial and commercial profits.


The minister mentioned that the bill also introduces a simplified tax system for small and micro-scale enterprises whose annual transactions do not exceed LE 10 million.

Maait pointed out that it does include incentives and rewards for taxpayers such as a 5% incentive for those utilizing the new e-invoicing system, while those reporting tax evasion crimes will be rewarded with 10% of the recovered amount.


Ragab Mahrous, an advisor to the head of the Egyptian Tax Authority (ETA), told Asharq Business that the newly approved tax changes will take effect starting from July 1st.





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