IPU lauds Egypt parliament's legislative initiatives to contain Covid-19 economic and health fallout

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 26 May 2020

The IPU said Egypt's parliament's was one of few in the Arab world which was very active in helping the state contain the coronvirus

File Photo: A general view of the Egyptian parliament during a working session photo: Khaled Mashaal

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) has noted that the Egyptian parliament took a number of legislative initiatives that aimed at helping the state mitigate the coronavirus’s effect, including postponing tax payments for badly affected sectors of the economy and allowing people to delay payments for electricity, gas and water.

The IPU has released a report on parliaments' responses to the pandemic.

"The Egyptian parliament passed a package of important laws to address the repercussions of the pandemic," said an IPU statement published on Twitter on Tuesday, adding that "the legislative initiatives included making an additional appropriation in the state's public budget to counter the consequences of the pandemic.”

They also include "postponing the payment of taxes in sectors affected by the pandemic; amending the emergency law to include allowing the president of the republic or whoever he delegates to take appropriate measures to deal with the health emergency, including closing schools and universities, closing or partially closing government ministries and departments, and letting people delay payments for electricity, gas and water services."

Egyptian MPs launched an initiative to set up a fund to manage the crisis, and donated EGP 20 million from their bonuses to the Tahya Misr state fund to help affected groups.

To limit the risk of infection and observe social distancing while keeping the parliament functioning, staff on site were limited to those with essential duties, while others work from home.

A communication and follow-up room was set up to raise staff’s awareness of relevant hygiene measures.

The parliament concluded its plenary meetings on 18 May after approving two laws on banking and on the public sector.

It has adjourned for a three-week Eid Al-Fitr recess and is scheduled to return on 7 June to complete discussions on the new public enterprise law.

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