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Wednesday, 31 May 2017

House, Council of State and policymakers are in a sprint to the summer recess finish line

RACE TO THE FINISH: The passage this week of the stamp tax comes as MPs and other state officials kicked off a race to finish work on key pieces of economic legislation before they go on summer recess on 30 June. Among the various bills now in the works:

  • Amendments to the Capital Markets Act, of which the Council of State began its review yesterday, unnamed officials tell Al Borsa. Once reviewed, the amendments — which among other things are expected to modify the regulations governing private placement, cover the issuance of sukuks, and give the EGX flexibility to set lower listing fees to attract smaller companies — will be sent back to Cabinet before they are referred to the House of Representatives for a vote.
  • Amendments to the Consumer Protection Act, also now with the Council of State, having been sent back for a second review earlier this month.
  • The new Mineral Resources Act and amendments to the 1941 commercial fraud law are also now before the Council of State.
  • The new Labor Act is now before the Manpower Committee at the House of Representatives.
  • A new nuclear power authority may be in the works. The House Environment Committee is now reviewing a proposal to that effect.

We expect key pieces of legislation to be kicked back to the House’s fall session. These include:

  • The long-awaited Bankruptcy Act, which would decriminalize bankruptcy and could make it possible for companies to request time to re-structure under US “chapter 11” style bankruptcy protection.
  • The Natural Gas Act, which could create a private-sector market for natural gas, while leaving the state to play the role of regulator.
  • Enabling legislation for the so-called Automotive Directive, which would give domestic automotive assemblers incentives to go higher up the value chain into manufacturing.
  • The Companies Act, which aims to simplify procedures for businesses on an ongoing basis.

Also on MPs’ agendas this week: The House Agriculture Committee is set to hold a hearing on the state’s campaign to repossess land that has been illegally acquired. The House Budget Committee is looking at the impact of the 200 bps interest rate hike on the FY2017-18 budget, and Central Bank of Egypt Governor Tarek Amer may appear before the House Economics Committee. Amer’s appearance, leaked earlier this week, appears less likely as the week wears on.

We could not be more tired of this: The Council of State is due to begin reviewing tomorrow a fresh lawsuit against the Ismail government’s handover of Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia, Youm7 reports.

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