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Thursday, 8 December 2016

Consensus on the Investment Law continues to elude the ministry

Consensus on the Investment Law continues to elude the Investment Ministry: We’ve felt since the outset that the Investment Ministry’s goal of reaching a “consensus” within government and with industry on the investment law would be a tall order. That process includes reaching a final agreement with the Finance Ministry over the reintroduction of free zones, said the head of the General Authority of Free Zones and Investment (GAFI) Mohamed Khodeir at a workshop on the law on Wednesday that included business associations, law firms and think tanks. The Investment Ministry has apparently agreed to most of the Finance Ministry’s terms, which include giving the Customs Authority new oversight powers on customs, tariffs and licensing in the free zones, added Khodeir.

As for the private sector, the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) is still adamant about that the base for change should be the old pre-2015 investment act (with amendments, of course), not Dalia Khorshid’s new draft, FEI board member Mahmoud Serg tells Al Borsa. He added that talks are ongoing but have not gotten anywhere. It is unlikely that any of the other business associations will be happy with the new draft after Khodeir announced that the law will maintain the “one-stop shop” policy, something which most associations want scrapped. It is unclear how the policy would work given legislation including the Industry Permits Act and State Land Act, which strip power away to other agencies. Khodeir insisted, however, that the associations’ input has been included in the new draft.

Either way, implementation will take time, as the ministry plans to release the law’s executive regulations three months after it has passed, said Khodeir (at least they are honest about it).

Khodeir appears to fancy himself Willy Wonka and announced that GAFI will be issuing “golden permits” which will allow investors to partake in key national development megaprojects, the newspaper reports. No details were given on the incentives planned for these permits or on whether GAFI is looking to hire Oompa Loompas.

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