FILE: Prime Minister Sherif Ismail
CAIRO – 6 June 2018: Egypt’s Prime Minister Sherif Ismail submitted on Tuesday the resignation of his government only two days after President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi was officially sworn in as the head of state for a second term until 2022, according to the presidential spokesperson, Bassam Rady.
Rady added that President Sisi instructed the government to continue its work until the new Cabinet is formed.
Amid difficult economic and complicated circumstances, oodles of laws and measures have been implemented during Ismail’s term spanning over almost three years.
What has Sherif Ismail’s government accomplished during his tenure?
Notable laws cropped up during Ismail’s term
Firstly and most importantly was the new investment law and its respective executive regulations that was approved by the Cabinet last August.
The law provides a range of incentives like tax breaks and rebates, while reducing red tape for new projects. It stipulates that investors get back half of what they pay to acquire land for industrial projects if production begins within two years, and provides a 50 percent tax discount on investments made in underdeveloped areas.
The New Investment Law’s executive is a key legislation that will guide our country toward the right path for growth and advancement. "It will support our economy in attracting FDIs, improving the business environment and providing new opportunities for both foreign and local investors," Minister of Investment Sahar Nasr told Egypt today on June 13, 2017.
The law divided investment areas nationwide into three sectors A, B and C; sector A includes areas that are in most need of development, identified by the State’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) and an investment map, drawn up by the government, which will be announced in the executive regulations of the law.
Investors in sector A will take tax exemptions up to 70 percent of investment costs, while investors in sectors B and C will receive exemptions of 40 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
According to the new law, the government will return shares of the investment costs through offering monetary incentives for the projects until they reach the rate of return stipulated in the act.
Civil service law
In April 2017, the Civil Service Law was approved by the Cabinet to help the administrative body of the state to regulate work as well as the wages and salaries of public servants.
Instead of a 2.5 percent financial allowances taken out of the basic monthly salary, the new law states that government employees would get five-percent. Based on a two-year evaluation, the employee who manifested high level of performance will be entitled to get such incentive.
The new law came in accordance with President Sisi’s directions to clamp down on corruption in the public sector.
Law criminalizing promotion of drugs in media
The Cabinet approved a draft law that criminalizes promotion of drug consumption in media outlets. The draft law aims at safeguarding society against drug abuse.
It bans all kinds of promotion for drugs, including the broadcast of wrong scientific information on drug abuse that would fool people into believing that drug abuse is good in a way or another.
In December 2016, the government approved amendments to the controversial protest law that requires a protest permit be obtained by security forces and that the ministry has a right to call off a protest if it is found to include law violations.
Moreover, Ismail ratified amendments regulating the examinations’ processes and fighting the violations committed therein.
Under the government of Ismail, the state initiated a set of reforms that include the pound’s flotation in November 2016, VAT introduction and subsidy cuts, backed by a $12 billion three-year loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Ismail also directed the government to update the database of beneficiaries of subsidies programs to eliminate any inequities arising from such subsidies in the walk of the flotation of the pound.
In another context, and in 2016, the government ordered the rationalization of expenditures of ministries and governmental bodies by 15 to 20 percent.
Societal protection program
In 2015, Egypt launched the Takaful and Karama (Solidarity and Dignity) program to provide direct financial support to the neediest people in different villages. The budget allocation of the project was LE 4 billion in 2016.
Takafol wa Karama program is funded by more than LE 10 million from the state’s budget in the fiscal year 2017/2018.
Mega Housing projects
Over the past two and half years, 185,000 housing units were established with a total cost of LE 25 billion as part of the governmental housing projects for the low-income citizens, along with other housing projects implemented in Upper Egypt.
The government has completed 70 percent of the projects that aim at improving sewage systems in 67 villages across Egypt.
Anti-HCV national program
In an aim to curb the epidemic prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus, the government announced the launch of the national anti-HCV program in 2014.
A total of 1.4 million Citizens infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) have been reportedly treated.
By 2022, Egypt will be HCV-free, announced Yehya el-Shazly, president of the National Committee for Fighting Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infections, in 2017.
In February 2017, the government also launched the "Tour and Cure" medical tourism initiative. The initiative offers treatment to HCV infected patients from all over the world, with an effective and advanced treatment program at a lower cost. Argentine football player, Lionel Messi, launched and promoted the "Tour and Cure" campaign through a visit in February.
Who is Sherif Ismail?
Born on July 6, 1955, Ismail obtained BA in mechanical engineering from Ain Shams University in 1978 and worked at several oil and gas companies throughout his career path and advanced through the ranks.
From 2000 to 2005, Ismail was undersecretary of the Ministry of Petroleum and held the chairmanship of the Egyptian Gas Holding Company (EGAS) from 2005 to 2007 and then became chairman of the Board of Directors of South Valley Petroleum Holding Company from 2007 to 2013.
In 2013, he was named Minister of Petroleum.