What we’re tracking this week and beyond
NBE to roll out Meeza cards early next month: The National Bank of Egypt is expecting to roll out national “Meeza” debit cards to both banked and unbanked customers by early January, with an eye on issuing 1 mn cards throughout 2019, the bank’s head of retail Alaa Farouk said, according to Al Mal. The bank had previously said it plans to roll out some 500k cards this month. Amazon’s PayFort also announced it has partnered with CIB to allow Meeza holders to shop online through PayFort’s contracted retailers, PayFort Managing Director Omar Soudodi said, according to Al Mal.
House to discuss Local Governance Act “within days”: The House of Representatives is expected to discuss and vote on the long-awaited Local Governance Act in a plenary session within the next few days,Local Development Minister Mahmoud Shaarawy said, according to Al Shorouk. The law, if passed, would set the stage for local council and municipal elections in Egypt. The law also stipulates that governors and their deputies resign from their posts at the beginning of a new presidential term.
Parliament will only get around to discussing the SMEs Act once it gets through the Local Governance Act, but both pieces of legislation should see the light during the current legislative session, Rep. Hala Aboul Saad said, according to Masrawy. The SMEs Act sets out incentives — mainly in the form of services and subsidized access to financing — for owners of micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises to go legit and pay taxes.
The government will re-issue the tender to develop the Giza Plateau in the next three weeks, Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik said, according to Masrawy. The Sound and Light Cinema Company had scrapped its USD 10 mn contract with Orascom Investment Holding for failing to meet the terms of the agreement.