Parliament approves bill on eliminating tax exemptions for state-owned entities

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 11 Jul 2023

The House of Representatives approved a two-article draft law on Tuesday which eliminate tax exemptions for state-owned entities and affiliated companies and boost private enterprise.

Egyptian parliament.
Egyptian parliament.

 

The law, approved by the Cabinet in June, aims to put state-owned entities and private businesses on equal footing.

"The draft law is a very good step that aims to create a more investment-friendly climate in terms of supporting free and fair competition on the local market," said head of the Parliament Budget Committee Fakhri El-Fiqi.

"The draft law also achieves one of the main objectives of the State Ownership Policy document – achieving competitive neutrality and tax justice among public and private businesses," he added.

"The draft law is one of several steps introduced to improve the business climate by the Supreme Investment Council in its first meeting last May," said El- Fiqi.

A parliamentary report prepared by the Budget Committee indicated that the draft law will abolish customs and real estate tax exemptions, among other tax breaks.

"The draft law shows that the state is serious about improving the investment climate, reinforcing transparency and achieving equality between the private sector and state entities," said the report.

"The draft law also comes during a global economic crisis affecting all countries, including Egypt. Most countries work to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) through creating a competitive market and transparent business environment," said Mohamed Abu Himila, the parliamentary spokesman of the People's Republican Party.

The draft law's first article states that all tax exemptions granted to administrative units, local councils, and fully or partially state-owned corporate entities will be eliminated. The draft law will not, however, impact state companies involved in projects related to basic infrastructure or national security.

Meanwhile, Parliament also approved amendments to 2017's Investment Law.

"The amendments aim to improve the investment climate and attract greater FDI inflows in terms of granting new incentives and expanding projects eligible for the so-called 'Golden License'," said the report. These incentives are available retroactively for all projects established before 2017.

The report also noted that these amendments "seek to attract investments to certain sectors like oil processing, fertilizers, iron and steel, LNG transport and energy-intensive industries."

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