Ride-Hailing Apps Act gets preliminary approval from House committees
LEGISLATION WATCH- The Ride-Hailing Apps Act has received preliminary approvals from a number of committees in the House of Representatives on Thursday, according to a statement from the Investment Ministry. The House’s economics, transport, ICT, defense and national security committees all gave their initial sign off to the act, said Investment Minister Sahar Nasr. The fast-tracking of the act, which leaked to the press last week, came after an Administrative Court ordered last month that Uber and Careem be shut down.
Uber and Careem continue to push for major amendments to the Act. Despite Nasr’s praise of the inclusive process of drafting the law, which she says incorporated the views of government, the companies and taxis, it seems that the government remains the only body happy with the proposed bill. Uber and Careem lobbied hard during Thursday’s parliamentary hearings for major amendments. Their key concern: A provision that would store user data in Egypt and make it accessible to government entities. Uber Egypt’s head of public policy, Rana Kortam, argued that these provisions violate user privacy provisions and are unconstitutional. She noted that the Council of State (Maglis El Dawla) had itself objected to some of these articles, prompting some MPs to raise the usual national security flags, according to Al Mal.
Nasr tried to spread oil on troubled waters, saying the executive regulations and future amendments to the proposed act could address the companies’ concerns.
Taxi drivers are also unhappy with the bill, with their reps at the hearing objecting to articles that would see white cabs become part of Uber and Careem fleets, MP Amr El Gohary tells Al Mal. Cabbies also want to require cars in Uber and Careem’s fleets to use transportation license plates and are demanding that Uber drivers have professional, rather than personal, driving licenses. The white taxis association is planning to send a full list of its grievances to the House and Cabinet today, association head Mahmoud Abdel Hamid said.
Careem is apparently “not worried” about all of this: The recent developments, including the court ruling ordering Uber and Careem’s shutdown, is “a little bit of noise” that Careem is not particularly concerned about, Gulf Managing Director Bassel Al Nahlaoui tells Gulf News. The company is intent on working with the government to find a “win-win situation,” Al Nahlaoui says.