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Tuesday, 28 February 2023

MPs give initial approval to extending expat car import scheme for 2 months

House gives initial nod to expat car import scheme extension: MPs have given preliminary approval to a proposal to extend the government’s expat car import scheme by two months amid low participation. The program was set to expire in mid-March but will now end on 12 May if the amendments are passed in a final vote in the general assembly.

REFRESHER– The scheme provides incentives to Egyptians living abroad to purchase cars overseas and import them into Egypt, and was designed by policymakers to bring more FX into the country. Under the rules, expats will receive full rebates on customs fees, VAT, and other taxes within five years of purchasing a vehicle, provided they pay them upfront in FX.

Why the extension? The government approved the extension to allow for a greater number of expats to sign up for the scheme and pay the dues in FX to the Finance Ministry, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Alaaeddin Fouad told MPs yesterday. Four months “is a short period of time that made it difficult for many expats, particularly those in the Gulf, to take advantage of the tax and customs exemptions offered…,” a report by the House Budget Committee read.

Weak demand: As of last week the scheme had brought in just USD 202 mn since its launch in November, a fraction of the Finance Ministry’s USD 2.5 bn target.

And that’s not all: The amendments give expats five years to bring their vehicles into the country instead of one year. The age of vehicles imported under the scheme should not exceed three years by the time of customs clearance under the changes.

Good news for expats in the Gulf? MPs approved a 70% discount on customs duty for expats living in countries not subject to mutual customs agreements, the Emigration Ministry said in a statement yesterday. They will now pay 30% of the customs duty under the scheme.

Already paid? You’ll be reimbursed the difference within six months, House Planning and Budget Committee Deputy Chairman Yasser Omar said in a televised interview last night (watch, runtime: 14:55).

Is any of this going to make a difference? Some MPs don’t think so. The scheme has never been an attractive proposition for expats and the latest amendments are unlikely to make a difference, Mostaqbal Watan MP Mahmoud Qassem said yesterday. “This bill will remain ink on paper even after we change it,” he said.

What’s next: The amendments are expected to be put up for a final vote in today’s session.

ALSO GETTING A NOD– MPs gave initial approval to legal amendments that would exempt mobile phone components from the 5% development fee. The move is designed to encourage the local manufacture of the components and lower the industry’s reliance on imported goods.

What’s next: The bill will likely return to the general assembly today for a final vote.


  • Rules governing foreign citizenship could be changing: The House legislative and defence committees received government-drafted amendments of a 1975 law that requires citizens to obtain the permission of the Interior Ministry before receiving foreign citizenship. The legislative changes are unknown.
  • Metro Line 4 financing: The House received two foreign agreements from the US and Japan on higher education and the implementation of the first phase of Cairo Metro Line 4.
  • Other foreign agreements referred to committees: Three foreign agreements on human rights, economic governance and the Montreal Protocol on the ozone layer were referred to House committees.

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