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Monday, 2 November 2020

Unified Tax Act amendments, teacher salary hikes receive final House approval

LEGISLATION WATCH- House passes tax code amendments that impose tough penalties on late filers: The House of Representatives has passed amendments to the Unified Tax Act that impose harsher penalties for late tax filing, Al Shorouk reports. In a busy day before sending the House into recess until mid-December, House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal rushed through the legislation for a final vote just hours after sending it to the Magles El Dawla following the House Planning Committee’s sign-off on Friday. The changes impose fines of EGP 50k to EGP 2 mn on those who fail to submit their returns within 60 days of the deadline, while repeat offenders could also face jail time ranging between six months and three years.

A pay rise for public sector teachers: The House gave final approval to plans to raise the salaries of public sector teachers, cabinet said in a statement. From January, teachers will receive an extra EGP 390-630 each month after the teacher allowance and performance-related incentives are hiked by 50%, and the exam bonus is raised by 25%. The law received cabinet approval last month.

Also from yesterday’s session:

  • The natgas sector will be allowed into freezones: Final approval was given to an amendment to the Investment Law that allows natural gas-intensive industries to apply for licenses to operate in freezones. Projects involving the refining, liquefaction and transportation of natural gas, as well as the production of fertilizers were banned from freezones under the 2017 law.
  • SCZone ro-ro station: A draft law allowing the establishment of a roll-on roll-off station in the Suez Canal Economic Zone’s East Port Said Port got the green light. A consortium of international companies involving Bolloré, Toyota and NYK will work on the project.
  • Legislative provisions to keep terrorists away from civil service jobs: The House Legislative Committee greenlit amendments to a 1972 law that aim to prevent individuals affiliated to extremist groups from working for the state.
  • State of emergency: Parliament approved extending the state of emergency for another three months as of 26 October.

Parliament also approved 10 international agreements including a USD 630 mn facility from the Arab Monetary Fund to fund government reforms and a EUR 225 mn loan from the African Development Bank to finance electricity infrastructure upgrades. See here and here for more.

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