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Thursday, 28 September 2017

What we’re tracking on 28 September 2017

It’s interest rate day: The central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee meets today to decide on key interest rates. Ten of 12 economists polled by Reuters see the central bank leaving rates on hold as inflation hasn’t cooled enough for the CBE to declare victory.

Enjoy your last weekend of peace for some time: Our esteemed elected representativesreturn to work on Monday, and their business-related agenda is long. President Abdel Fattah issued a decree declaring that the House of Representatives’ fall legislative session begins on Monday, 2 October, Al Shorouk reports.

(Stream-of-consciousness interruption: The first Monday in October is also the day on which the US Supreme Court always goes back into session. Which reminds us of the Walter Matthau film The First Monday in October. Which brings up what could be the single most relevant movie line ever written: “A telephone has no constitutional right to be answered.”)

What will MPs be doing to / for us? Our laundry list of key legislation of interest to business is here. Notable updates:

The Central Banking Act: According to the IMF report on the economic reform program, the CBE will send amendments to the Central Banking Act to the cabinet for review in 31 December, meaning the House won’t get to it until 2018.

The Universal Healthcare Act: Health Minister Ahmed Rady said yesterday that the bill will be on the docket this fall, Youm7 reports. We had said yesterday that the bill has been with the Council of State for the last six months, likely delayed to allow time for the review of the results of actuarial studies that will be key to costing the law. It would also appear that the Health Ministry plans to roll into the bill legislation that would allow it to regulate prices of private-sector healthcare providers.

The Automotive Directive: After stalling for most of this year, we heard that the House will resume talks on the bill, which would grant incentives to local assemblers. The House Industry will hold hearings with Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil and industry representatives. A lawmaker had said in August that the House would likely vote on the bill as early as November.

Unified Building Codes: Amendments to the Unified Building Codes are with cabinet for review. The amendments — which focus on facilitating licensing, tightening safety codes, and better enforcement — will be sent to the House of Representatives once receiving approval from the cabinet.

All four mobile network operators are expected to launch 4G services today in a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and ICT Minister Yasser El Kady, Al Borsa reports.

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