Egypt has no intention of taxing expat salaries, remittances: Minister

Ahram Online , Tuesday 7 Mar 2023

The Egyptian government has no intention of taxing the income or remittances of Egyptians working abroad, Egypt's Minister of Emigration and Expatriate Affairs Soha Gendy said on Tuesday.

File photo: Egyptian citizens queue at Kuwait International Airport. AFP


Gendy made the remarks a day after local media reported on Deputy Senate Speaker Bahaaeddin Abu Shoka’s alleged proposal to allocate a percentage of the salaries of Egyptians abroad for the state – a statement that Abu Shoka himself denied later in the day.

In a statement to Egyptian news agency MENA, the emigration minister said the government could not possibly access the salaries or personal bank accounts of Egyptians, whether at home or abroad.

"There is no intention to deduct part of the wages of workers abroad or from their personal [financial] transfers," the statement quoted Gendy as saying.

Abu Shoka's alleged proposal was initially reported by local news websites on Monday afternoon, causing controversy for several hours before he denied making it.

In a phone-in with talk show host Amr Adib, Abu Shoka said that such a proposal would be unconstitutional, clarifying that he only called for legal measures to protect Egyptian expats, who number 12 to 14 million and represent part of the country’s “national wealth”, and should therefore be protected.

Abu Shoka said he made the comment in a Senate session that was set to discuss the government's incentive policies for Egyptians working abroad, and that he called for a governing legal umbrella to protect Egyptians abroad.

"I did not call for collecting money from Egyptian expats, but rather for protecting them. We preserve the money of hardworking Egyptians abroad through a set of guarantees, as well as when they transfer their money to their families and keep it in bank accounts in Egypt, with safe and regulated procedures,” he explained.

Minister Gendy said that the Egyptian state fully supports Egyptian expats and is keen to protect and preserve their rights and settle their problems.

The Ministry of Emigration and Expatriates Affairs is always in close touch with the Egyptian communities abroad, listens to their proposals and requirements and offers programmes that are in their interests, the minister added.

The ministry spares no efforts to link the expats to their homeland and encourages and involves them in the ongoing development process in the country, Gendy added.

Remittances sent by Egyptian expats are one of Egypt’s key sources of foreign currency along with exports, tourism and the Suez Canal.

Egyptian expats’ remittance inflows to Egypt grew in FY2021/2022, which ended in June 2022, recording $31.9 billion, a slight increase from $31.4 billion the previous fiscal year, according to data released by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).

According to the CBE, during the first quarter of FY 2022/2023, remittances from Egyptians working abroad decreased by 20.9 percent to $6.4 billion compared to $8.1 billion during the same period of FY 2021/2021.

The country's net international reserves in February reached $34.3 billion, up from $34.2 billion registered by the end of January 2023, according to the CBE.

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