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Monday, 27 September 2021

Last Night’s Talk Shows: More on the blogger tax, and the Ethiopian embassy shuts its doors

The introduction of income tax and VAT for YouTubers and other content creators continued to capture the attention of the talk shows last night. According to a Tax Authority directive released last week, all online content creators will need to start paying income tax on their revenues, while those who earn more then EGP 500k a year will be required to charge and remit VAT.

El Hekaya’s Amr Adib took a critical view of the Finance Ministry’s proposals: In an interview with Tax Authority official Sayed Saqr (watch, runtime: 10:45 | 1:59 | 3:04), Adib asked why the state is raising taxes on content creators but isn’t doing more to make multinational tech firms like YouTube, Google and Amazon pay their fair share, pointing to European efforts to raise taxes on large companies.

But why isn’t Google taxed? Saqr said the government does not tax revenues made by Google and YouTube because they are not registered in Egypt and offer people a way to generate revenue. He said that a 20% stamp duty is levied on companies that offer advertising services, adding that the authority is scheduled to propose replacing the stamp duty with VAT to parliament (watch, runtime: 4:10).

** We’re still trying to piece together how the Tax Authority plans to recoup VAT from YouTubers’ revenue streams. We’ll have more on this in the coming days.

Ethiopia will shutter its embassy in Cairo for six months — but it hasn’t got anything to do with GERD, according to the country’s ambassador to Egypt. Cairo Markos Tekle told BBC Arabic that work at the embassy will be suspended for three to six months starting in October for financial reasons related to a reduction in the embassy’s operating budget. Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 3:45) and Sada El Balad’s Salet El Tahrir (watch, runtime: 14:17) had the story.

Meanwhile in GERD: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry dismissed Ethiopia’s statement that it will only sign an agreement with Sudan and Egypt if it is assured that its water resources can be used to benefit its national interests and future development. In a phone interview on Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 6:52), Shoukry said negotiations relate only to the filling and operation of Ethiopia’s mega-dam, branding the statement as evasive and saying it showed the lack of Ethiopian political will to reach an agreement.

Bikes will be available to rent under Cairo governorate’s Bicicletta bike-sharing project within three to four months at the latest, Khalil Shaath, head of Cairo’s urban upgrading unit, told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 9:23). The governorate aims to introduce 40 bike stations and 5m-wide bike lanes on pedestrian pavements under the scheme, according to Shaath. He said an agreement was signed with an Egyptian-Danish alliance to provide digital solutions for the project in August, with payment set to be via app or monthly subscription. The Egyptian-Danish firm will also run the scheme, with state monitoring and regulation, he added. Plans for the Bicicletta project were first announced in 2017, as a UN scheme with funding from Swiss nonprofit the Drosos Foundation.

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