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Tuesday, 21 April 2020

House committee approves new emergency powers for Egypt’s president

House committee approves changes to presidential emergency powers: The House Legislative Affairs Committee has approved 18 amendments to the Emergency Law that would give the presidency increased powers to direct the government’s response to covid-19, Youm7 reports. The approval for the changes — which cover everything from school suspensions and tax deadlines to exports and scientific research — comes after Parliament voted last week to extend the state of emergency for three months. The changes still require general assembly approval.

What’s new? The president would get new powers to suspend the operations of public and private sector organizations, order school and university closures, and mobilize public and private medical organizations to treat infections. He would also have the ability to ban exports of certain goods, change the prices of goods and services and place restrictions on the sale and possession of goods. Tax changes — such as extending the deadline for submitting tax returns and allowing taxpayers to pay in installments — would be placed in the hands of the presidency, as would the quarantine protocols for new entrants to the country, the allocation of financial relief, and focus and funding of health research.

Bottom line: The bill would effectively give the office of the president the authority to do what Egypt has done so far to contain covid-19.

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