Members of Parliament start voting on the newly-proposed amendments to the 2014 Constitution on Thursday- Egypt Today/Hazem abdel-Samad
CAIRO – 9 July 2019: Parliament's Social Solidarity Committee has officially started Monday discussing a draft law regulating the operation of Non-Governmental Organizations in Egypt. The discussions are set to continue on Tuesday.
The Ministry of Social Solidarity has previously reworded the draft law and sent it to the Parliament, Head of the Social Solidary Committee Abdel Hadi al-Qasabi said in press remarks.
The rewritten draft law, set to be discussed in two meetings on Monday and Tuesday, can be discussed and passed by the Parliament on Wednesday and Thursday, Qasabi said.
In November 2018, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi agreed to form an official committee to discuss a law issued in 2017, governing the operation of foreign NGOs in Egypt, as a prelude to possible amending.
Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali said in April 2019 that the committee charged with amending the 2017 NGO's law will issue a new draft law instead of just amending it.
Talaat Abdel Qawi, president of the General Federation of NGOs, said in January that the federation held four conferences on the level of Egyptian governorates to hear the comments of non-governmental organizations on the draft law.
In an interview with Egypt Today, Abdel Qawi said that the amended law will stipulate that NGOs can be established only through notifying without additional procedures. The administrative body can then resort to the judiciary to stop the registration of an NGO within 30 days.
The amendments will also include exemptions of 50 percent of utility bills for the NGOs, Abdel Qawi said. They will also have the right, according to the law, to conduct scientific research after the approval of Egypt's Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.
Concerning funding, Abdel Qawi revealed that a new funding mechanism will be followed to ensure transparent access to funding. He added that the fund will be accepted within 30 days instead of 60 after the NGO explains where the fund comes from, where it goes to, and how it is spent.
In case the NGO does not receive official response after answering the three questions, it means the fund is accepted, according to Abdel Qawi. However, the Ministry of Social Solidarity and concerned authorities will supervise the funds.
Abdel Qawi also revealed that penalties of violating administrative laws will be limited to paying a fine instead of imprisonment in the amended law.