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Sunday, 26 August 2018

El Sisi ratifies Cyber Crimes Act, Leasing and Factoring Act

El Sisi ratifies cyber crimes, leasing and factoring acts: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ratified last week the controversial Cyber Crimes Act, Ahram Online reported. The law stipulates that internet service providers hold user data and records of web activity — including voice calls and browsing history — for a period of 180 days, among other stipulations.

The law’s ratification opened up the floodgates of criticism in the foreign press. Rights groups view the law as part of a “series of measures … aimed at curbing freedom of expression online, with the internet one of the last forums for public debate over Sisi’s rule,” AFP said. Authorities maintain that the law is necessary for counterterrorism operations, the Times of Israel noted. Islamist mouthpiece Middle East Eye also took note.

Also over the Eid break, El Sisi ratified the Leasing and Factoring Act (which regulates leasing and factoring as non-banking financial tools that are subject to oversight by the Financial Regulatory Authority), the Sovereign Wealth Fund Act, and the renewal of the Tax Dispute Resolution Act.

Speaking of the sovereign wealth fund, the government has tasked a committee of legal and economic experts to advise on the act’s executive regulations. The committee, which will set the framework for the EGP 200 bn fund, will lay the ground rules and set the criteria that will determine how staff will be hired, Planning Minister Hala El Saeed said on Thursday, Al Mal reports. The government intends to put out a job posting for an executive director soon, before the final formation of the board is announced, she said. We had been expecting Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly to announce the details of the board before the holiday, as the fund is set to launch before year’s end.

Who’s got oversight of the EGP 200 bn SWF? The board will be headed by the Planning Minister and include representatives from the ministries of finance and investment, alongside five other members who are yet to be selected. The regulations should be issued within 60 days and studies are ongoing to decide on a location to set up the fund’s main headquarters.

Background: The House of Representatives had signed off on the law establishing the sovereign wealth fund last month.We had also reported in July that a consortium of law firms — including Sarie-Eldin, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Baker Mckenzie — had entered into an agreement with the government to advise on the establishment of the fund’s framework and governing structure.

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