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Monday, 22 March 2021

FinMin issues new Customs Act regs

Companies importing capital goods they need to grow — including heavy equipment and machinery — could get a breather under upcoming changes to the Customs Act’s executive regulations (pdf), the draft of which the Finance Ministry has completed ahead of their being put up for public consultations. The regs would allow importers to pay customs in chunks over six months for businesses that are up and running, and over the course of one year for ventures that are still in the construction phase.

Shippers could also be allowed to move goods out of Egypt without submitting waybills on the spot and would instead be given the option of handing over the documentation 48 hours after leaving the country. This applies to cargo ships, planes, and other vessels with or without cargo. The Customs Authority had agreed to introduce this concession in the act’s executive regulations last month.

Background: We have a bulleted rundown on the new Customs Act here if you need to get up to speed. The recently-approved law came into effect late last year and aims to expedite customs clearance. It received a final nod from the House of Representatives in August 2020, but has since been met with pushback from exporters, shipping agencies, and customs brokers. Their grumblings led the Finance Ministry to make minor concessions, including on ins. requirements.

IN OTHER LEGISLATION NEWS-

FGM is now punishable by at least five years in prison and up to a decade if the victim is permanently disabled after the Senate signed off on tougher penalties for the illegal procedure in a plenary session yesterday, Al Shorouk reported. The penalty in the case of a victim’s death is at least 20 years in prison. Medical professionals found guilty of FGM will face similar prison terms and will be stripped of their medical license for at least five years. Those who promote or encourage the practice will also face prison time.

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