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Wednesday, 10 January 2018

House gives preliminary nod to Bankruptcy Act

LEGISLATION WATCH- House gives preliminary nod to Bankruptcy Act: The House of Representatives gave a preliminary nod to the Bankruptcy Act during a session of the general assembly yesterday that saw Investment Minister Sahar Nasr in attendance, Al Mal reports. The bill, a key element of the Sisi administration’s economic reform program, would effectively decriminalize bankruptcy and allow companies more time and options for restructuring by introducing mechanisms to help settle commercial disputes outside the courtroom and expedite and simplify bankruptcy proceedings, sources tell the newspaper. The long-awaited act is expected to improve Egypt’s reputation as a place in which to do business, according to Nasr.

Members of the House’s Economics Committee said they were surprised to see the bill on yesterday’s agenda, claiming that they were not given a chance to review or approve it themselves before it came to the floor for a vote.

Also yesterday, MPs gave preliminary approval to amendments to the law regulating the Industrial Development Authority (IDA). The proposed changes would grant the agency independence from the Trade and Industry Ministry, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Representatives also voted in amendments to the Penal Code yesterday that set harsher prison sentences of 7-20 years for kidnapping, as well as amendments to the law regulating prison administration, which guarantee rights for release on good behavior.

State of emergency extended: The House also signed off on a presidential decree extending the state of emergency for another three months starting 13 January.

Still on the agenda is the Tenders and Auctions Act, which the House’s Budget Committee is currently discussing. Members are considering introducing clauses allowing state-owned land and Endowment Ministry assets to be auctioned off if the need arises.
The House also received proposed amendments to the real estate tax from the Planning Ministry, which Speaker Ali Abdel Aal has referred to committee for review. Abdel Aal also sent proposed legislation on street vendors to the economics and legislative committees to revise.

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