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Wednesday, 14 March 2018

House ICT Committee approves Cyber Crimes Act clause on banning websites

LEGISLATION WATCH- The House of Representatives’ Economics Committee has completed its review of the Leasing Act and plans to bring it to a plenary discussion following the presidential elections this month, Al Mal reports. The legislation, which sets up a regulatory framework for factoring and leasing, had been amended by the Financial Regulatory Authority as part of its drive to improve access to finance for small businesses. Key features of the law, the most recent draft of which was published by the newspaper, include:

  • Allowing SME financing companies and finance-focused NGOs to offer leasing services to small and medium enterprises;
  • Setting a minimum capital requirement for factoring and leasing companies of EGP 10 mn;
  • Sanctioning operating leasing services, which allows for the temporary leasing of assets without transfer of ownership rights;
  • Leasing contracts must be registered with the Financial Regulatory Authority.

Meanwhile, Parliament’s Housing Committee has agreed to set the fee for building owners and developers to settle building code violations at 10% of the property’s market price, Al Mal reports. The fee is proposed in a draft law that would specifically focus on settling building code violations. The law would have a temporary mandate of around three months, Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly said previously. Certain conditions need to be met before a settlement can be reached, including meeting building safety regulations. It not clear why the committee had decided to look into the act, after it had previously voted not to pass it until the Unified Building Codes had been enacted, saying the two pieces of legislation are closely linked. The reconciliation drive is expected to earn state coffers c. EGP 72 bn from around 1.8 mn buildings that are in violation of existing codes.

In other legislative news, the House ICT Committee approved yesterday a clause of the Cyber Crimes Act regulating website bans, Ahram Gate reports. The clause grants the Prosecutor General the authority to ban websites that publish any content deemed criminal or posing a threat to the country’s national and economic security. The committee also approved setting fines of up to EGP 200k for cyber crimes after the contentious debate, according to Al Mal. The committee decided to postpone its final vote on other clauses requiring service providers to cooperate with security entities to combat cyber crimes, Al Shorouk reports.

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