Back to the complete issue
Monday, 26 March 2018

Only the government is truly happy with the Ride-Hailing Apps Act

LEGISLATION WATCH- One thing we learned from the ‘national dialogue’ on the Ride-Hailing Apps Act: Only the government is really happy with it. The Support Egypt Coalition led what it calls a national dialogue on the Ride-Hailing Apps Act on Sunday, bringing together MPs, government officials and representatives from the companies. The general consensus of the meeting appears to be that while the law is a good start, much more needs to be done. The event came as the government rushes to legalize ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Careem, whose licenses were put at risk by a ruling from the Administrative Court favoring taxi drivers.

The government line: The Ride-Hailing Apps Act is key, if only because it’s the state’s first to attempt to regulate the sharing economy, Investment Minister Sahar Nasr said, according to Al Shorouk. Passing the bill is in the public interest: It helps create jobs and complements the government’s development strategy, she added. The government is developing new cities and is keen to develop reliable public transportation systems in cooperation with the private sector, Nasr noted.

Nasr also may have thrown a dig at grandstanding MPs when she says that the law has been through a number of committees in the House and the government and their input has been taken into consideration.

The companies get their say: Careem’s public relations director, Dalia El Nasr, showed the flag for the private sector, according to the newspaper. She called for moderate pricing of licenses under the act, a justifiable complaint considering reports that permits to drive for a ride-sharing service could cost 125% more than taxi licenses do (which, frankly, is just insane). Ride-sharing apps should also be exempted from having to prove to regulators that all of their divers are insured, a requirement El Nasr says would be logistically difficult for a multinational with some 100k drivers. (On this: Give us a break. Proof of insurance should be a basic, as it is in every jurisdiction in the world that we can think of). Overall, El Nasr is pushing for a looser, more lenient regulatory framework

The House wants to appease taxis—and collect your data: MPs positively slobbered as they looked to score points with taxi drivers, criticizing a bill they themselves helped draft. “[Ride-hailing] companies have harmed regular taxi drivers who pay taxes and license fees to the state,” said House Transport Committee deputy chair Mohamed Zain, according to Al Masry Al Youm. (Find us a taxi driver who pays taxes on his earnings driving a cab and we’ll find you the sole living saint in Egypt.) Zain also pushed for the law to guarantee that companies open user data to the government and store that data in Egypt — a feature of the law first revealed by the NYT’s Declan Walsh last year. The head of the House ICT Committee, Nidal El Saeed, supported those articles, but called for them to be slightly loosened. He did, however, double down on support for taxi drivers, calling for a referendum on the law be put to them, Al Shorouk reports.

Brilliant. Let’s pass the democratic process to a group whose interests are in no way threatened by this bill. That’s the mature way to do it…

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.