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Thursday, 29 July 2021

Egypt parliament approves amendments to the traffic law, imposing new fees to support 'smart transport systems'

The law will impose new annual fees on vehicle licenses to support the state in implementing 'smart transport systems'

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 9 Feb 2021
Traffic in Cairo
Traffic in Cairo. Al-Ahram

The House of Representatives finally approved on Tuesday new amendments to the Traffic Law (No.66/1973).

The amendments generally aim to impose new annual fees on vehicle licensing. A report prepared by parliament’s transport committee said the new amendments to the traffic law aim to support “smart transport systems”, which are necessary to reduce car accidents, improve road quality, and cut fuel consumption and pollution.

The fees will cover all private, public, and diplomatic vehicles and will depend on engine size.

The report indicated that the amendments will help traffic authorities impose automatic control on the movement of vehicles on all kinds of roads.

“Egypt is currently building a big number of roads using new smart technology necessary to achieve traffic discipline, implementing the state’s development objectives, and bringing car licensing under strict control,” said the report, adding that “in order to meet these objectives, the government will need new financial resources to support roads with new modern technology systems and techniques.”

The report said there will be amendments to three articles of the traffic law.

“Article 51 will be amended to impose an annual fee on vehicle licensing to be used in developing smart transport systems, this fee will be increased by 6 percent every year,” said the report, adding that “all vehicles will be asked to use electronic stickers against a payment ranging between EGP 75 and EGP 300 per one. Vehicles owned by the ministries of defence and interior will be exempted from paying any new annual fees for national security reasons.”

The report also indicated that article four will be amended to impose fees on vehicles depending on their engine size.

“A private car with less than 1300 litre capacity, for example, will pay an annual fee of EGP 60 and those with a litre capacity between 1300 and 1600 will pay EGP 75, etc,” added the report.

All kinds of buses, motorcycles, and tuk tuks will be also be required to pay fees ranging from EGP 20 and EGP 600. Commercial vehicles will pay a fee of EGP 2500.

All vehicles will have to adjust their conditions in line with the above amendments within six months of the date of the issuing of the law’s executive regulations.

Some MPs, however, rejected the amendments, arguing that it is bad that the government always resorts to imposing fees to improve services. Ihab El-Tamawy, deputy chairman of the Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee, rejected the amendments, arguing that the new fees are not justified.

“When you impose a new fee, this should be against a new service, but here citizens will not receive any new service in return for these fees,” said Tamawy.

Ayman Abu El-Ela, deputy chairman of the Human Rights Committee, complained that the amendments impose prison sentences.

“I think freedom restricting penalties are very bad and should be removed from the law,” said Abu El-Ela.

Soliman Wahdan, a Wafdist MP, also complained that it is “very bad” that every now and then the government imposes new fees on citizens.

“In fact, this represents a lot of financial burdens for citizens at a time they are feeling the pinch of the negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Wahdan.

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