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Thursday, 23 November 2017

Cabinet signs off on Ride-hailing Apps Act, other key decisions at weekly

LEGISLATION WATCH- The Ismail Cabinet signed off on the Ride-hailing Apps Act and referred it the Council of State for review. The bill will regulate companies such as Uber and Careem and ostensibly aims to attract new investments to the ride-sharing and group transport industry. The law prohibits personal car users from extending ride-sharing services independently without being registered to an app. It also mandates the ministries of transport and interior to coordinate in issuing regulations on licensing procedures and fees for personal cars used in ride-sharing services.

The law will also introduce an Oyster Card-like type of ticket that will be valid across different modes of available transportation, said Transport Minister Hisham Arafat . We had reported this week that the House of Representatives’ ICT committee was gearing up to begin deliberating on the bill. The law will give companies and drivers six months to comply with new regulations once it’s issued.

There has been no official word from the government or ride-hailing companies on alleged provisions mandating that customer data be sent to authorities as first reported by the New York Times. Uber is currently in hot water with regulators in the US, the UK, and Australia after it was revealed that the company had hidden a data breach that saw hackers collect personal information of some 57 mn users worldwide, Reuters reports. Uber had paid USD 100k to the hackers so they would purge what they culled in the leak without informing the authorities or the victims of the hack.

The cabinet also signed off on a number other key decisions yesterday, including:

  • The Finance Ministry’s agreement with consultancy firm EY to develop and digitize tax-related procedures and operations;
  • Legislative amendments that will allow economic courts to handle consumer protection-related cases;
  • Extending the deadline for tour companies in Luxor, Aswan, and South Sinai to settle government debt until 30 June 2018 from this December;
  • Allowing contractors working on real estate projects another year to finalize their work;
  • Amendments to the Civil Aviation Act that have now been referred to the Council of State.

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