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Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Parliament pushes Sukuk law to 2021

The bill that lays the groundwork for Egypt’s first sovereign sukuk sale is being put on hold until the new class of MPs is seated in the House of Representatives next month. The current House of Representatives was expected to begin discussions yesterday of the bill, but ultimately pushed it to the next legislative cycle after House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal called an end to Parliament’s five-year term. The bill governs how the debt is securitized and traded, as well as the rights and responsibilities of sukuk holders. Egypt’s maiden sovereign sukuk sale is expected after the bill clears the House general assembly in a final vote, is ratified by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and its executive regulations are published. The bill received cabinet approval last month.

What does the bill entail? The law would, if passed, allow the government to sell ijara, mudaraba, istisnaa, murabaha, and wekala sukuk in the local and international debt markets, according to a copy of the draft law seen by Enterprise. (Don’t know your ijara from your murabaha? We have you covered on the sukuk types here).

While the bill would make sovereign sukuks a legal reality, it is the executive regulations that will lay the framework for sukuks. This includes establishing a regulatory oversight committee, clarifying how disputes between the government and sukuk holders would be handled, and setting up an association to protect the rights of investors. The regulations are expected to be out within three months of it being ratified by the president.

APPROVED AT THE COMMITTEE LEVEL YESTERDAY- The charter of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum. The House Energy Committee approved the document, which also appears to have been pushed to the next legislative cycle for general assembly sign-off, reports Al Mal. Egypt and six of the forum’s founding members, including Cyprus, Greece, and Italy, signed the charter earlier this year. It officially establishes the Cairo-headquartered organization and outlines its mandate: to serve as a market platform for natgas producers, consumers, and transit countries in the region. Other items that received House committee-level approval include:

  • The Oil Ministry’s exploration contracts, including one with BP to explore in the Gulf of Suez, and one with Ganope in the Eastern Desert.
  • Establishing the 6 October Dry port, according to Al Mal. Cabinet earlier this year awarded the contract to design, build, operate, and transfer the port to a consortium of Elsewedy Electric, Schenker Egypt, and 3A International.
  • A SAR 1.4 bn (c.USD 390 mn) Saudi loan to establish the King Salman University, according to Youm7.

ELSEWHERE IN LEGISLATION- New building code and urban planning requirements are in their final drafting stages before being shipped to Ittihadiya for President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s approval, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said yesterday. The new framework will then be reviewed by the Supreme Council for Planning and Urban Development before coming into effect. The framework, which includes requirements for parking space availability and maximum building height, among other things, has been in the works since May, when the government imposed a six-month ban on construction permits.

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