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Monday, 22 October 2018

Welcome to the great licensing binge of 2018

** #3 LEGISLATION WATCH- Welcome to the great licensing binge of 2018. While committees have been at work for weeks now, the House of Representatives convened for its first general assembly of the new legislative season only yesterday. Licensing and regulation are clearly high on the minds of our elected representatives, whether it’s in the form of cabinet-backed proposals or private-member bills (the latter of which are much less likely to see the light of day).

One MP thinks the best way to guarantee truth in advertising and marketing would be to license the profession. Rep. Mohamed Farag Amer has drafted a bill that would require individuals working in advertising or marketing to obtain a license to practice, Amer told Egypt Today yesterday, suggesting it’s the best way to bring the profession under control. If enacted, the law would set up an Advertising Syndicate which would take charge of issuing licenses. Open Photoshop or write a line of ad copy without a license? Amer would like you to fork over a fine of up to EGP 100k — and go to jail for up to six months.

Somewhere out there, Ol’ Smileyface is grinning from ear to ear, just imagining all the “inappropriate” Ramadan ads that will never be made.

Meanwhile: Physicians would have to renew their medical licenses every five years if legislation backed by cabinet goes through. The bill, which is now headed for committee review after having received preliminary approval from the House general assembly yesterday, would see medical practitioners required to submit documentation proving they have engaged in 120-150 hours of professional practice. In addition to hours in practice, MDs could claim time spent on medical research as well as continuing education initiatives such as conferences and workshops, Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar told the assembly yesterday.

The proposed amendments would also start to nudge med school curriculum toward the practical by cutting study years at state-run medical schools to five years from a current six and requiring that graduates complete two-year rather than one-year, residency programs as a requirement of licensing. The amendments are part of efforts to reform Egypt’s healthcare and medical institutions, House spokesperson Salah Hasaballah told Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 6:46).

Also yesterday, House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal ordered the establishment of a sub-committee to review the law regulating medical research and clinical trials. The law had passed during the previous legislative session, but President Abdel Fattah El Sisi refused to give his sign off, citing concerns over several of its clauses. Among those are provisions that set harsh penalties for the transfer of human research samples outside of Egypt without government approval, which El Sisi said could be problematic for future scientific exchange with other countries.

The assembly reconvenes today to continue discussions of proposed amendments to the Education Act, Youm7 says. The last we heard of this bill was back in 2016. The bill is expected to make changes to teachers’ salary structure and further the government’s goals for educational reform.

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