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Monday, 17 October 2022

Crackdown on wildcat building on agricultural land inches closer

The House yesterday approved in principle amendments to the Agriculture Act that would introduce harsher penalties for illegally building on agricultural land. Under the amendments, those convicted will be banned from receiving government food subsidies and could face jail terms ranging from two to five years as well as fines between EGP 500k and EGP 10 mn. The House Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee approved the amendments earlier this month.

What’s next? The amendments will go up for a final vote before the House, before getting handed to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to be ratified into law. They then go into effect once published in the Official Gazette.

ALSO FROM THE HOUSE YESTERDAY-

Where do our bread subsidy reforms stand? Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy’s proposal to form an ad hoc committee to look into possible changes to the country’s massive bread subsidy program will be studied by the House’s Agriculture Committee, alongside a slated USD 500 mn loan from the World Bank to bolster wheat imports.

Some MPs are blaming the government for the poultry feed shortage: “The government should have intervened early enough to save the market … the culling of chicken will cause a shortage of poultry and eggs on the local market and lead their prices to skyrocket,” MP Hesham El Gahel said. Local media this week reported that some farmers are killing their chicks due to a lack of feed.

The Madbouly government is working to resolve the issue: The government has released some EGP 85 mn worth of soybeans since the beginning of the month and some EGP 40 mn worth of corn in efforts to calm the poultry market, according to a statement following a meeting on the issue headed by Prime Minister Mousatafa Madbouly yesterday. The PM said the government would coordinate weekly with the poultry union to decide how much feed to release into the market.

Tougher penalties for the use of unlicensed telecom equipment ahead: The House’s Telecom Committee will be looking into amendments to the Telecom Law cracking down on the import, possession, use, operation, and marketing of unlicensed telecom equipment that poses a threat to national security. Penalties range from one to five years in prison and fines of EGP 2-5 mn.

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