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Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Cabinet postpones survey of country’s real estate assets to 2020

CABINET WATCH- The Finance Ministry will be postponing its survey and appraisal of the country’s real estate assets to December 2020 from 2018 under amendments to the real estate tax code approved by the Madbouly Cabinet at its weekly meeting yesterday. The move means to give the Tax Authority more time to conduct its review of the country’s residential, commercial, and industrial properties — which should legally take place every five years — in order to determine their value and better calculate its tax base. We had heard earlier this month that the government was getting ready for a major overhaul of how real estate taxes, which would also involve taxing the oil and gas sector.

E&Y to advise on government’s electronic billing system: The cabinet also gave the Finance Ministry the green light to hire Ernst & Young to consult on a tender it plans to issue for the development of the government’s electronic billing system, which is expected to help improve transparency and accountability as a way of battling corruption and tax evasion. The move is part of the government’s transition to a paperless, cashless economy, which saw amendments to the Accounting Act issued last month, making it mandatory for all government transactions to be electronic, and banning the use of paper cheques for transactions above a set threshold. The ministry also received a nod to move forward with its tender.

The cabinet had a few other items on its plate yesterday, including:

  • Approving a KWD 50 mn loan agreement with the Kuwait Fund for Economic Development for the establishment of a sewage water treatment facility in Bahr El Baqar, which should help in the reclamation of 330k feddans of agricultural land east of the Suez Canal;
  • Giving the Education Ministry the green light to renew its USD 5 mn teacher-training program with Discovery Education for another three years;
  • Awarding the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company the EGP 10.6 mn contract for the installation of 1.5 MW-worth of transformer stations for an Endowments Ministry-affiliated oncology hospital.

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