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Thursday, 19 November 2020

Importers of key commodities in Egypt to be excluded from shipping VAT

CABINET WATCH- Importers of key commodities could be excluded from paying value-added tax on shipping costs under legislative amendments to the VAT Tax Act which received approval in cabinet’s weekly meeting yesterday. The amendments would remove VAT paid on freight costs for strategic goods including legumes, grains, table salt, and spices, the cabinet said. It’s unclear if the changes are part of a larger bill to amend the 2016 legislation currently being pushed through the House. The larger changes would impose VAT on non-residential property, some snack foods, and most commercial advertising, as well as allow tourists to claim VAT rebates.

Also approved during yesterday’s cabinet meeting:

  • A decision setting up an authority to handle international arbitration cases involving the state. Cases are presently handled by a specialized unit in the Justice Department;
  • A draft law to regulate plasma collection centers as part of a plan announced late last month to help Egypt become self-sufficient in the production of plasma and its derivatives;
  • A guarantee by the Finance Ministry allowing the central bank to extend up to EGP 3 bn to modernize irrigation systems as part of the bank’s initiative to extend low-interest loans to SMEs; and
  • A presidential decree approving a EUR 3.05 mn grant from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development that will go toward the development of Cairo Metro Line 1.

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