House approves Investment Act
The House of Representatives has approved all remaining articles of the InvestmentAct, according to a statement (pdf) from the Investment and International Cooperation Ministry on Thursday. The bill as a whole will now be put to a vote at the House in a plenary session today, Al Ahram reports. The Finance Ministry appears to have made its peace with the return of private-sector-run free zones, with Deputy Finance Minister Mohamed Maait telling Al Masry Al Youm that the ministry will be working on regulations to govern the zones. Establishing a private free zone would require the approval of the entire cabinet, a condition which helped win over the Finance Ministry, said Deputy Finance Minister Amr El Monayer, according to Al Mal. Deadlock on this and other contentious amendments to the law were apparently resolved during a sitdown between Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal. El Monayer added that the amendment would set a cap on investment incentives at 80% of the capital invested in any one project.
The act’s executive regulations will be out within a month, Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr told Al Masry Al Youm. She made sure to point out that all ministries will be consulted during the drafting. Ministry officials also took to the local press to remind everyone that it was the House Economics Committee that raised the ceiling on investment incentives for any one project above the 40% specified in the ministry’s first draft of the act.
GAFI will not be the final arbiter of land allocation for business: The House also reportedly approved articles that would give the Trade and Industry Ministry and the CIT Ministry the authority to sell state land to the private sector, Al Mal reports. An earlier draft had granted the General Authority for Free Zones and Investments the overall power to privatize land for investment. It is still unclear how this will work given what appear to us to be conflicts with other laws including the State Lands Act, which grants ministries and authorities the right to tender land under their jurisdiction.