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Egypt's Sisi follows up on SCZone developments, discusses new SMEs law with finance minister

Ahram Online , Tuesday 29 Dec 2020
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"Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in his meeting on Tuesday with Minister of finance Mohamed Maait and his deputy in Cairo (Photo: Egyptian Presidency)
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Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi discussed on Tuesday the latest developments concerning the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) with the economic group of ministers led by PM Mostafa Madbouly and the governor of the Central Bank of Egypt Tarek Amer, the Egyptian presidency said.

The meeting discussed the most important production projects in the SCZone as well as recent developments including the process of digitising the banking system in the country, the statement read.

The president said that priority should be given to producing goods locally in the SCZone in order to meet the demands of the local market, reduce imports and increase exports.

In a separate meeting with Maait and Deputy Minister of Finance for Fiscal Policies Ahmed Kouchouk, El-Sisi discussed the state’s efforts to support SMEs through the new SMEs law, as well as the recent financial and economic indicators of the Egyptian economy.

The president also said that the articles of the new SMEs law must reflect the different incentives and advantages of the law to support the activities of SMEs in the country, like allocating easy finance sources from inside the annual state budget in addition to facilitating registering projects and paying taxes.

Maait discussed the features of the new law and its articles and highlighted the new low tax rates on annual activity, which stands at 0.5 percent for an annual activity volume between EGP 1 million and EGP 2 million; 0.75 percent for EGP 2 million to EGP 3 million, and 1 percent for EGP 3 million to EGP 10 million.

The finance minister said during the meeting that the state bore part of the cost of technical training for workers, exempted entrepreneurship projects from patent registration fees, and provided the necessary technical assistance to register patents.

Maait added that the new SMEs law encourages the transition of SMEs from the informal to the formal economy. 

The new SMEs law was ratified by the Egyptian president in July 2020.

El-Sisi and Maait also review the general budget during the period from July to November of 2020, which witnessed the continuation of the primary surplus, the downward trend of the budget deficit and increasing allocations directed to social protection and enhancing investments in infrastructure.

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