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Monday, 23 April 2018

Gov’t gets sharper teeth against unsustainable agriculture practices

LEGISLATION WATCH- Gov’t gets sharper teeth in clampdown on unsustainable agriculture practices: The House of Representatives voted to approve amendments to the Agriculture Act in a plenary session on Sunday, according to Al Shorouk. The law grants the Agriculture Ministry greater powers to regulate which crops can be grown and where with an eye towards water conservation, soil preservation, economic viability and ending unsustainable economic practices. Discussions on the law had proven contentious after a number of MPs pushed the agenda of rice growers (who we prefer to see as water exporters) demanding an expansion of growing rice. This prompted House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal to educate them on the importance of limiting water-intensive crops while Egypt is in the midst of a water shortage. (Yes, Abdel Aal is on the side of goodness and right on this one.) Previous reports on the law had also said that it would impose harsher punishments on the construction of non-agriculture buildings on agricultural land of up to two years in prison and fines of up to EGP 50,000.

Also yesterday: The House of Representatives appears to have signed off on the Food Cart Act. The 17-clause bill, which governs permits, equipment, location, and food safety standards, imposes an annual fee on food cart owners of no more than EGP 5,000 for a three-year, renewable permit. Vendors would also be exempt from paying taxes in the first three-year period. Youm7 has a copy here.

In other legislative news, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ratified amendments to the Eminent Domain Act, AMAY reports. The law grants the president the right to seize privately-owned land under eminent domain and offer compensation that includes a 20% premium on the value of the land.

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