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Monday, 21 October 2019

House approves in principle amendments to Public Enterprises Act

LEGISLATION WATCH- House gives preliminary nod to Public Enterprises Act amendments: The House of Representatives has approved “in principle” amendments to the Public Enterprises Act, which would scrap mandatory arbitration and allow disputes between public sector companies and state institutions to be settled in court, the local press cited MENA news agency as reporting. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi earlier this month formed a committee to work on the amendments, chaired by his assistant for national and strategic projects, and including Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik as well as representatives from the finance and planning ministries, general intelligence, the Administrative Control Authority, and national security. Tawfik reportedly said in April that the amendments would remove listed companies in which the government owns a 75% stake from the legislation, and bring them within the scope of the Companies Act.

State gets sharper teeth to fight building violations: The Housing Committee approved yesterday amendments to the Unified Building Code, granting powers to the Agriculture Ministry to seize buildings that were illegally erected on fertile land and fine the violators, the local press reported.

USD 62 mn IFAD support package gets committee-level approval: Meanwhile, the Agriculture Committee approved a presidential decree on a USD 62 mn package from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to support agricultural development and small-time investors in Marsa Matrouh, Al Shorouk reported. The support package, signed in Rome in February, included a EUR 53.2 mn loan alongside a grant worth some EUR 860k.

EBRD loan to modernize Metro Line 1 also gets a nod: The Transport Committee also approved a presidential decree on a EUR 205 mn loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to renovate Cairo Metro Line 1, Al Shorouk reported. The loan was signed in August 2018.

Ex-husbands: Pay up or else. The House also approved on Sunday government-proposed amendments to the Penal Code which increase punishment for ex-husbands who fail to pay alimony, Al Shorouk reported. Divorced men whose ex-wives have filed more than one case against them for failing to pay alimony are to be punished by a maximum of one year in prison, scrapping the option of a fine. The amendments also grant defendants the right to reconciliation even if a ruling had already been issued. The amendments have been referred to the State Council.

House calls for committee to fight terrrorism: The House also said yes to a proposal from House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal to form a special committee to fight extremism, violent rhetoric and the threat posed by domestic terrorists returning from abroad, Al Masry Al Youm reported. There are concerns that returning terrorists will want to launch operations in new areas or recruit others to form new cells, Abdel Aal said, without explaining how exactly he intends to have the planned committee tackle the issue.

Also in the legislative pipeline: The Justice Ministry will within two months complete amendments to the Personal Status Act, which will cover matters of marriage, death, inheritance, child custody, etc., Masrawy cited Justice Minister Advisor Mohamed Mahgoub as saying. The committee drafting the amendments will hold its first meeting on Tuesday and refer it to the prime minister’s office before presenting it to parliament.

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