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Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Ministers are still working to resolve “controversial” aspects of building violations regs

No agreement on building violation regs: The Madbouly government is still working to resolve differences of opinion over amendments to the law for reconciling building violations, cabinet said yesterday. Ministers have not reached a consensus regarding several “controversial” points of the legislation which are being contested by “various stakeholders,” the statement said, without providing further details. Cabinet wants to finalize a draft in the coming weeks so it can pass the amendments to the House of Representatives for discussion when MPs return from summer recess in October.

The original law had some issues: Ministers are working on amendments to address shortcomings in the original legislation which was passed in an effort to combat illegal construction. To legalize informal settlements and illegal buildings, the government in 2020 required property owners to pay fines (“reconciliation fees”) and ended up receiving around 2.8 mn requests. The problem is that the government has reportedly only responded to a fraction of these, and many fines remain unpaid. And a lack of unified rules has meant that various governorates around the country have been implementing the law differently.

So far, the government has received just 25% of what it’s owed, Rep. Ahmed El Seginy said on Ala Mas’ouletty last night (watch, runtime: 5:03). Property owners and the New Urban Communities Authority have paid somewhere in the region of EGP 22 bn to the state, he said.

Government officials in recent months have pledged to adopt a zero-tolerance stance towards new illegal construction and announced several controversial policies to crack down on violators. These include the removal of food subsidies and the referral of people who illegally build on the Nile to military prosecution.


You can now legally snap a selfie in Egypt’s streets under a new decree from the cabinet that allows Egyptians and foreigners to use cameras for personal use without needing to obtain a permit or pay fees, according to a Tourism Ministry statement. The — very welcome — recommendations were first greenlit by the cabinet in July.

There are still some restrictions: Photographers will still need permits to take pictures of ministries, legislative councils, government facilities, police stations, buildings and any site affiliated with the military. They are also banned from shooting scenes considered “offensive” to the country, and from filming adults and children without their consent. Professional photography — including photography for cinematic, television, documentary and commercial purposes, as well as photojournalism, media, advertising, or professional photography — will still require a permit as well.

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