Head of the Media, Culture, and Antiquities Committee Osama Heikal
CAIRO – 1 January 2019: Egypt will reach a strategy in 2019 allowing the government to implement advertisement taxes on social media websites, especially Facebook and Google, as the Ministry of Finance is about to finish the bill and submit it to the Parliament.
Osama Heikal, chairman of the Committee on Information and Culture, welcomed the steps taken by the Ministry of Finance to finish the bill on imposing taxes on the ads of social media and Google.
Heikal referred that the bill aims to protect the Egyptian market and stop Google and Facebook from monopolizing the market and destroying journalism.
He further remarked that the law regulating press and information stipulates that the media content cannot be broadcasted before the approval of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation.
He added that electronic websites cannot post ads from the Egyptian market unless the website is registered at the Supreme Council and subject to Law 11/1991 on tax evasion.
Heikal stressed that this will apply to all electronic websites including the foreign websites such as Facebook and Google.
In November 2015, Egyptian online newspapers voiced their fears over the future of digital newspapers; Youm7 Editor-in-Chief Khaled Salah published on November 17, 2015 an article on the threats the Egyptian news industry could face as enormous amount of revenues go to Facebook and Google.
“The online news industry in Egypt and the Arab world may face a major threat from some global social media companies like Facebook and Twitter, and of Google, which dominate major fields of the advertising market worldwide,” Salah said.
Also, on his Twitter account on June 30, 2016, Salah called on the Parliament to impose taxation on Facebook and Google’s ads.
Being reachable and accessible for millions of people worldwide, the two companies managed to pull big share of the online ads without paying taxes.
The two companies dominated 20 percent of the global advertising market in 2016, according to data and analysis agency Zenith in May 2017. Google got $79.4 billion in ad revenues in 2016, while Facebook got $26.9 billion.