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Sunday, 14 February 2021

Information Minister Osama Heikal censured by House committee

Minister of State for Information Osama Heikal has been censured by the House Media, Culture and Antiquities committee, which alleges the minister has delivered insufficient results after spending state funds and claims he has a conflict of interest arising from his role as chairman of Egyptian Media Production City, reports Youm7.

Why are MPs unhappy? The committee alleges Heikal’s ministry spent EGP 12 mn over the past six months without making progress on major targets such as outlining a plan to modernize the TV Building in Maspero. The committee’s report on Heikal also attacked what it perceives as a lack of coordination between the state’s various media regulatory bodies.The committee report also denounced Heikal’s past comments on the state’s media organizations, which the report says “were exploited by foreign media.”

What’s next? A House plenary session to discuss the report has been to an unannounced future date at Heikal’s request, Youm7 adds.

MEANWHILE- The House of Representatives approved in principle a number of amendments to the Senate’s bylaws, reports Al Masry Al Youm. The bylaws require two-thirds of senators to be present for a plenary session to have quorum and will see the Senate hold “special sessions” at the request of the president or the prime minister to vote on issues of national interest. The changes would also eliminate the power of the prime minister to convene the Senate for a plenary meeting. The amended bylaws also include articles that exempt senators’ compensation from taxes as well as requiring senators to request approval from the speaker before traveling abroad, writes Ahram Online.

The House will reconvene tomorrow to discuss the remainder of the Senate’s bylaws, reports Ahram Gate.

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