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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Draft of the new Investment Act ready

Last Night’s Talk Shows is back for a second day in a row. Bringing it back is so far the most common reader suggestion in our survey. We’re still looking at the logistics of how to do this once again without burning-out our staff, but in the interim, we’ll try to dip into Talkshowland every now and again:

A draft of the brand-new Investment Act is ready, Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid told Hona Al Assema’s Lamees El Hadidy last night in the latest installment of what amounts to a virtual economic policy conference the last two days (watch, runtime: 19:28)

Khorshid presented the draft to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi at a policy review meeting yesterday, Al Borsa says. She told Lamees last night that the law would provide new tax and non-tax incentives as well as reintroduce free zones. The proposal also addresses some of the more obvious problems with the current act, including how state land is tendered to the private sector. The new law will seek to rework the defunct “single window” policy by instituting guarantees to investors for the timely delivery of land, she told El Hadidy.

The Investment Ministry is now coordinating with other government bodies to get to consensus on the law and on the state’s investment priorities.She is also scheduled to meet with business associations including the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) and the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce to discuss the new law, ministry sources tell Al Borsa. The business community had supported drafting a new law in a poll conducted by the ministry. Khorshid’s also briefly touched on the IPOs of state-owned companies, where Khorshid provided no new updates. Khorshid expects the law could be ready to present to the House in a month’s time.

(Lamees didn’t touch on this while we were turned in, but also yesterday: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi officially established the Supreme Council for Investment, which will oversee investment policy, according to Al Masry Al Youm. The council will include Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, central bank governor Tarek Amer, a number of cabinet ministers and the heads of the FEI and the Union for Investors Associations. El Sisi had approved forming the council in July.)

Lamees isn’t done yet: She interviewed Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Special Representative to the Middle East. Bogdanov dismissed reports that Egypt and Russia are holding talks which would see the latter open bases in Egypt. On the return of tourists, he praised Egyptian efforts in implementing security measures that protect tourists, and hoped that Russian tourists would return soon.

Lamees also discussed a government committee that will look into setting “price guidelines” for key goods with cabinet spokesperson Hussam Qawish who called in to the episode. “These prices will not be fixed or enforced,” said Qawish, adding that talks with the Federation of Egyptian Industries are ongoing in how to implement the program.

Yesterday’s episode was not available online as of dispatch time.

The Egyptian Council of State (Maglis El Dowla) will complete its review of the long-dormant Media and Journalism Act in ten days’ time, said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Magdy Agaty in an interview on MBC Masr’s Yehduth Fi Masr. The law, which sets up a national media authority to govern the press whose head is appointed by the President and enforces a minimum capital of EGP 500k for media websites, will be a legislative priority to the House of Representatives. You can view the whole episode in MBC’s Shahid portal here (runtime: 54:26)

Also last night: Our recently insomniac early-morning editor, who was pretty harsh on Youm7 chairman / Al Nahar talk show host Khaled Salah in yesterday morning’s edition for his suggestion of taxing the rich into oblivion, wishes to give credit where credit is due: Salah sent a crew out to do street interviews with Cairo University students about Cairo U President Gaber Nassar’s decision to strip religious identity from university paperwork. Props to Salah for giving Dr. Gaber, his studio guest, a fair shake. (Watch the poll of students, run time: 2:23.)

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