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Sunday, 13 December 2020

FinMin, industry groups to set up “working groups” to improve tax policy

The newly-passed Customs Act could be in for changes after Finance Minister Mohamed Maait agreed to conduct a broader review at the behest of industry representatives, according to Al Mal. Maait promised to address investor concerns in the act’s executive regulations, but could amend the legislation itself if needed. The decision to look into the law came after a recent dispute with customs brokers and shipping agencies on several sticking points which were addressed in a meeting on Friday between Maait and representatives from the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce.

The major points of contention: Brokers had complained about the strict new ins. requirements in the legislation, which force large companies to deposit EGP 100k and small companies EGP 50k, up from as little as EGP 5k before. The Customs Authority had earlier refused to budge from the figures, but according to a recent Finance Ministry directive, the authority will allow small firms to pay the amount in equal installments over five years. The government will also allow shippers to submit their cargo lists 24 hours before shipments arrive in the country, instead of the 48 hours in the legislation.

Meanwhile, a pre-registration system that aims to cut red tape and streamline customs procedures will be installed in Egypt’s ports in April, Maait said in a statement over the weekend. Using the system will be mandatory for exporters and importers as of the start of next fiscal year in July, he added. The new system, which would reduce customs procedures to a maximum of one day, would also create an online portal allowing customers to follow the status of their shipments. The launch of the system would come a few months after the ministry rolls out a parallel digitized tax filing system in January as part of a wider plan to overhaul tax collection.

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