The House of Representatives reconvenes today after a short break during which MPs took a tour of Washington, DC. We expect a slow ramp-up on the legislative front this week, with talk of laws on NGOs, drones and other miscellany taking up time. There’s still plenty of business-relevant legislation in the pipeline, including the proposed Bankruptcy Act, which is hasn’t made it out of the Legislative Committee for the Economic Committee to consider — and the draft of which may yet be amended at the Ismail government’s request. A quick recap of what’s to come:
- The Universal Healthcare Act: The state’s most significant piece of social legislation this year would see health insurance expand to cover breadwinners and their families in all governorates by 2032.
- The Social Welfare Act: The bill would see the Social Solidarity Ministry establish a new pension fund and set its own investment strategy. The law will also index annual pension increases to inflation and set a minimum pension rate.
- The Local Administration Act: This bill would set up and organize local councils and elections and is part of the government’s plan to decentralize local administration.
- The Labor Unions Act: Labor unions say it’s too restrictive. Members of the House Manpower Committee have said think it gives unions too much power.
- Higher ed: The Ismail government is reportedly looking to enact legislation that would make it easier for foreign universities to open branch campuses in Egypt. Provisions would include fast-tracking both licenses and the “mobility” of staff, according to Times Higher Education.
Do you follow capital markets? Pay attention to proposed amendments to the CentralBank and Banking Act that are being closely watch by investors to see whether it imposes a special “industry development” tax on bank profits.
Also up for discussion: Tweaks to the companies, capital markets, leasing and factoring, auctions and tenders acts, a bill that would form an Egyptian space agency (approved by cabinet in September), and a bill designed to enhance protection for intellectual property.
Will the Automotive Directive finally see the light of day? The House Industry Committee will restart its debate of the long-awaited Automotive Directive on Wednesday after having amended the bill for a third time, committee head Ahmed Samir said, Al Mal reports. Samir reminds us that the Trade and Industry Ministry had hired a German consultancy firm earlier this year to help study the directive — which would give assemblers incentives to go further up the value chain into manufacturing — and prepare a final draft.
Finally, a proposed anti-LGBTQ law is on its way to a joint meeting of the legislative and constitutional committees for discussion, according to the newspaper. The bill seeks to make homosexuality a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
The World Youth Forum continues today in Sharm El Sheikh. Agenda here (pdf).
EFG Hermes’ 7th Annual London Conference continues today and runs through Thursday at Emirates Arsenal Stadium in London. The conference will bring C-suite execs from top listed companies in MENA as well as frontier markets (among them Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka) face-to-face with top global investors with mandates to invest in emerging and frontier markets.
Worthy miscellany this morning:
- El-Arian on bitcoin: If you’re fascinated (and maybe a bit put off) by cryptocurrencies and are, like us, a fan of Mohamed El-Arian, you’ll want to check out Bitcoin’s Contentious Bid for Legitimacy, his latest for BloombergView.
- Remember Dick Fuld? “The man who drove Lehman Brothers to the biggest corporate collapse in history is making a quiet comeback on Wall Street” with a new firm, Matrix Wealth Partners, the Financial Times reports.
- Things are going too well, Episode 999: This time from the Wall Street Journal: “Shareholders are luxuriating in the ideal environment as the global economy delivers growth without inflation. It is hard to be cautious when the fundamentals look great—but this might be just the time to start worrying.” Read: Don’t Buy The Dip. Sell The Rip
- Sending “sci-fi” drones into “dark, dangerous places”: Also from the Wall Street Journal is a report that fully autonomous drones out of Hollywood science fiction movies could replace minders.
Bonus for World War II buffs: Germany’s Bundesbank has launched a four-year study that will take a deep dive into how the central bank helped implement policy for Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party. The Financial Times has the story, and the Bundesbank’s website has more in English. Also: A former FBI agent is setting off on a quest to discover Who betrayed Anne Frank.
Soundtrack for this morning’s edition: Fireball Ministry’s Remember the Story. The act is a straightforward hard rock / heavy-metal-meets-grunge outfit from Los Angeles whose latest features fuzzy guitars, driving bass and meaty hooks.