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Wednesday, 6 July 2022

The House is out for summer — here’s what it achieved this session

The House is out for summer: The House of Representatives held its final session before adjourning for the summer recess yesterday. Some 184 laws were passed by the House this legislative season, with economic bills leading the pack. Among the most important laws that made it through were the Unified Budget Act and Unified Planning Act and the Fintech Act.

Just in time: Before representatives clocked out, they gave their final approval to government-drafted amendments to the Consumer Finance Act, adding three new articles designed to offer consumer and SME borrowers and lenders better protection against fraud. Under the amendments, borrowers who fraudulently fail to meet the terms of a financing agreement or obtain finance will be met with fines as much as double the amount borrowed, and / or jail time.

The amendments also ban third parties from acting as mediators or paid sponsors between lenders, and SME and consumer borrowers without first registering with the Financial Regulatory Authority, with penalties of jail time and / or a fine of EGP 50-500k. Banks are exempt from the law as their activities fall under the central bank. Cabinet passed the amendments back in May.

Also passed yesterday were amendments to the Anti Money Laundering Act creating an independent anti-money laundering unit at the central bank to investigate money laundering and terrorism financing, with the power to fine perpetrators EGP 100-300k.

Kicked to the next legislative session:

  • The Unified Ins. Act, which would make the Financial Regulatory Authority the primary regulator for the sector and make ins. compulsory for SMEs and freelancers, among other things. The Senate approved the proposed regulation in April.
  • The Labor Act, which the Senate approved in February. The law would, if enacted, extend both maternity leave and notice periods, cap working hours, and change minimum raise increments. Catch our explainer here.
  • Amendment to the Competition Act giving the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) sharper teeth to regulate M&As, which failed to make it through as negotiations between the ECA and other regulators remained in deadlock. You can catch our breakdown of the amendments here.

LOOK OUT FOR- A government-drafted bill was referred to the House that we expect to resurface during the next session that would establish a council for vehicle manufacturing and a fund to manage the financing of a local electric vehicle production industry. This is likely part of government plans to develop the local automotive industry with a focus on EVs, which saw it unveil its automotive strategy earlier this year.

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