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Thursday, 6 July 2017

House passes Natural Gas Act, Mineral Resources Act

The House of Representatives has finally approved the long-awaited Natural Gas Act without any amendments, Al Shorouk reports. The 53-article legislation would deregulate the natural gas market and leave the state to play the role of regulator. The law — which will allow the private sector to trade gas using the state’s infrastructure and pipeline network and establish a new authority to regulate and monitor the market — had been gathering dust since 2015, with a number of companies already having applied to import natural gas and had been waiting on the law. This should be welcome news for everybody.

MPs also signed off on the new Mineral Resources Act, according to Ahram Gate. Under the new act, we should be seeing reduced fees and royalties on quarries and mines, unified license procedures and fees, reducing the time it takes to obtain permits for mining in Sinai, according to earlier reports. Very little by way of detail on the law has emerged.

The House also approved amendments to the Police Act that reduce the minimum age of joining the force to 19 from 23 years currently and make it easier for women to join. Additionally, MPs also sanctioned a number of international agreements, including:

  • A EUR 345 mn agreement for the Gulf of Suez wind farm with the European Investment Bank, Germany’s KfW, the French Agency for Development, and the EU;
  • A KWD 18.5 mn agreement with the Kuwaiti Fund for Development for the Port Said water desalination plant;
  • A USD 560k grant from the African Bank for Development for slum rehabilitation;
  • An EUR 800k grant from Italy to renovate Cairo’s museum of Islamic art;
  • An economic cooperation agreement with Djibouti.

House’s talks on Investment Act regs postponed indefinitely: With that busy schedule, the House’s Economics Committee was left with no time to discuss the the Investment Act’s executive regulations before adjourning their session for the summer. Luckily though, the government is not obliged to wait for MPs to return before issuing the regulations, which should be out in August, according to Prime Minister Sherif Ismail’s earlier statements. Surprisingly, the House’s committee on housing has decided to postpone its break a little while longer to discuss the new building code and a legislation for building code violations. Bon Voyage MPs

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