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Thursday, 27 October 2022

House signs off on changes to agriculture and river transport acts

The House gave its final nod to bills on agricultural encroachment, river transport, unlicensed guns, and national ID cards yesterday.

#1- Tougher fines for land encroachment: People caught illegally building on agricultural land will face tougher fines after MPs approved an amendment to the Agriculture Law yesterday. Under the change, violators can be fined between EGP 500k and EGP 10 mn for encroachment as well as receive up to five years in prison. The current law allows fines of between EGP 100k and EGP 5 mn.

Contractors + engineers will be held liable: Any contractors and engineers implicated in land encroachment could be sent to prison for up to five years and receive fines ranging between EGP 100k and EGP 3 mn.

#2- River transport open to private investment: MPs approved amendments designed to attract more investment into the country’s inland waterways. The changes will open up the river transport sector to private investment and put the River Transport Authority (RTA) in charge of licensing river boats, Nile cruises and floating units. Requests for the establishment, operation and management of river ports and docks will now go through the RTA for approval.

#3- Getting a license to buy and sell guns could become harder: MPs approved two bills yesterday that will make it harder for people to obtain licenses to buy and sell guns. This comes in response to the spread of videos on social media with violent content featuring the use of unlicensed guns.

#4- ID cards will now be issued at 15 years old: The House approved yesterday an amendment to the Civil Status Law that requires citizens to get their national ID cards at 15 years old instead of 16 years old.

What’s next for the bills: All four pieces of legislation will now go to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s desk to be signed into law.

What’s next for the House and the Senate: The House will reconvene for plenary sessions on Sunday and Monday, while the Senate will hold sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday. Both chambers will then take a break for the COP27 summit.

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