Finance ministry considers bringing back private free zones, moving toward alignment with investment ministry’s views
Are free zones coming back to life? After being torpedoed by former Finance Minister Hani Dimian, free zones may be making a comeback as the Finance Ministry is apparently in talks with Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid, who is championing the measure, Al Borsa reports. Feasibility studies related to tax and customs start early next month Finance Minister Amr El Garhy has said, potentially paving the way for the return of 5-10-year tax holidays for qualifying businesses. Former finance minister Hani Dimian had opposed having private free zones, saying, “The investor does not care about the return of the private free zones so much as he cares about the investment climate in general, the elimination of bureaucracy, providing land and facilitating licensing procedures.” The Investment Ministry has been pushing for free zones and other investment incentives since the zones were scrapped in March 2015; GAFI CEO Alaa Omar warned last month that investors are looking relocate to Dubai’s Jebel Ali as Egypt was unable to offer acceptable incentives.