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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

House gives preliminary nod to NPPA law, postpones final vote to resolve disagreement over articles on autonomy, tax exemptions

LEGISLATION WATCH- House gives preliminary nod to amendments to law governing nuclear power authority amid disagreement over clauses on autonomy and tax breaks: The House of Representatives’ general assembly gave a preliminary nod yesterday to amendments to the law governing the Nuclear Power Plant Authority (NPPA), postponing the final vote to a later session to make changes to clauses offering tax and customs breaks, Al Masry Al Youm reports. A number of House of representatives objected to the degree of autonomy the NPPA would be granted under the amended law. The amendments, which the Ismail Cabinet approved in September, place the authority within the Electricity Ministry’s domain, but give it full oversight and regulatory power over the nuclear power sector, in addition to its own independent budget.

MPs also disagreed over a controversial clause that exempts nuclear power plants from taxes and customs, including those on imported equipment and raw materials, as well as other duties related to project development and operations.

Foreign employees and workers are also exempt from paying taxes under the law, which sets tight restrictions on foreign hires. Their rights to repatriate profits are also enshrined in the legislation.

As for regulations governing the work of NPPA employees, the Electricity Ministry will issue new policies within six months of the newly amended law coming into effect. The old policies will remain in place in the meantime.

In related news, the Council of State appears to have concluded its review of a law regulating the nuclear industry and sent it over to the Ismail Cabinet for deliberation, Al Shorouk says. This comes as we wait for President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to set a date for Egypt to sign the contracts for the USD 30 bn Dabaa nuclear power plant with Russia’s Rosatom. The event should bring President Vladimir Putin to Egypt and may herald the return of direct air travel between Moscow and Cairo.

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