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Thursday, 8 December 2022

It just got easier for industry to get golden licenses

It was all about boosting foreign investment at the cabinet’s weekly meeting, where ministers widened the scope of industrial and automotive investment incentives and approved the first land sale in foreign currency to an unnamed Gulf investor.

Companies applying for the government’s golden license for industry will no longer need to meet a minimum issued capital requirement, after the Madbouly cabinet scrapped the rule during its meeting yesterday, according to a statement. Companies previously needed to have issued capital of at least 20% of the investment cost of their projects to qualify for a golden license, but many investors lobbied against the requirement, saying it was difficult to meet, General Authority for Freezones and Investment boss Mohamed Abdel Wahab said.

AND- Companies can now apply for a golden license online through the cabinet’s website, it said in a statement yesterday. The website now includes an application form and a guide for how to obtain the single-approval licenses. Companies need to fill out the form, which asks for details including annual exports and local component usage, as well as upload the relevant documents.

REFRESHER- The golden license (AKA single approval license) was introduced in the 2017 Investment Act to streamline implementation of key industrial and infrastructure projects. The licenses allow investors to obtain a single approval for all phases of a project, from land allocation through operation. The one-stop-shop license is given to investors working on strategically valuable national projects and those aligned with the government’s development strategy.

Automotive-linked engineering industries are getting incentives: Companies that work on the engineering side of the automotive industry will now be able to enjoy incentives provided to businesses under the Investment Act, after the cabinet agreed to add research, accreditation, and software development centers to the list of eligible activities, according to the statement. The move comes as part of the long-awaited automotive strategy, which aims to up local auto assembly and component manufacturing and boost auto exports.

Sale of state-owned land for FX sets a precedent

Cabinet approves land-for-FX sale: State-owned land in Sadat City will be sold to an unnamed Gulf investor to set up a housing project, with the investor set to pay for the plots in hard currency, according to a separate statement. Ministers agreed to set a precedent to approve similar cases where foreign investors agree to pay for land in FX.

This is the latest in a string of gov’t programs designed to attract FX: The government has recently rolled out a scheme offering a full rebate on customs fees, VAT, and other taxes in five years to Egyptian expats who bring cars into Egypt and pay the fees up front in FX. A separate program offers investors generous tax breaks if they use hard currency to fund at least half of the investment cost of industrial projects.

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