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Tuesday, 3 April 2018

LEGISLATION WATCH- Ride-Hailing Apps Bill faces final vote next week after clause on state access to data amended; 2018-19 budget is now with the House for debate.

LEGISLATION WATCH- House Transport Committee approves Ride-Hailing Apps Act, with amended user data stipulations: The House of Representatives’ Transport Committee approved yesterday the Ride-Hailing Apps Act after amending clauses on user data privacy, Al Ahram reports. MPs eventually agreed yesterday to amend a clause that allows companies such as Uber and Careem to keep user private unless they receive an official government request to access their databases, in which case they would be given a 180-day window to comply. As we noted previously, the Council of State (Maglis El Dawla) had raised several objections to the act, the most pressing of which were the provisions on sharing user data, which the Council said would be unconstitutional, as the bill in its original form would have required the companies to grant the government permanent access to their databases.

The bill will go up for a final vote at a plenary session of the House next week. In the meantime, you can click here for a refresher on the draft law’s main planks.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Speaker Ali Abdel Aal referred the draft FY2018-19 state budget yesterday to the House Planning and Budgeting Committee, Al Mal reports. Discussions are expected to kick off in mid-April after Finance Minister Amr El Garhy and Planning Minister Hala El Said address the general assembly within two weeks, committee head Hussein Eissa said. The committee is currently focusing on completing its discussion of the Unified Planning Act, which it also received yesterday. The bill, which the Ismail Cabinet had sent to the House last month, will set a framework for the state to regulate the planning and execution of national projects.

Abdel Aal also referred the draft law to establish the Supreme Anti-Terrorism and Anti-Extremism Committee to the Constitutional and Legislative Committee, after a preliminary nod from the general assembly, according to Al Shorouk. Other bills shipped off to committees yesterday: The Public Procurement Act, amendments to the Traffic Act, amendments to an article of the Income Tax Law governing taxes on real estate assets, amendments to the Personal Status Law, legislation allowing the oil minister to sign several oil exploration and production agreements, as well as several loan agreements.

Parliament’s general assembly also approved yesterday amendments to the law regulating real estate registries and a law that means to incentivize innovation and scientific research by exempting higher education and scientific research bodies from taxes and customs tariffs on imported equipment and materials used for research.

The House is now back in recess until after the Easter / Sham El Neseem break.

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