The Egyptian parliament’s Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee will hold an extraordinary meeting on Sunday evening to discuss a proposal aiming to postpone the implementation of the controversial Real Estate Registration law.
The proposal was submitted by Ashraf Rashad, the spokesperson of the parliamentary majority of the Mostaqbal Watan (Nation’s Future) party, and more than a tenth of MPs, on Sunday morning.
The Mostaqbal Watan party holds a majority of 316 MPs (53 per cent) in Egypt’s parliament.
An official press statement said parliament’s Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee will meet immediately after the end of parliament’s plenary session on Sunday to discuss the proposal which is supported by a large number of MPs.
An informed source said the proposal comes upon the request of the majority of MPs who criticized the heavy financial burdens and bureaucratic measures required by the law. “The best option now is to postpone the implementation of the law before it comes into effect on 6 March or next Saturday,” said the source.
Mostaqbal Watan’s Ashraf Rashad said in a TV interview on Saturday evening that “because the time is too short to amend the law’s controversial article 35, a large number of MPs propose the implementation of the law be postponed, after which the government should open a public dialogue on its articles and whether they should be amended or scrapped altogether.”
It is not clear whether the law will be postponed for one or two years. “This will be a matter of discussion among MPs when the Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee holds its meeting this evening,” said the source.
MP Tarek Shoukry, an independent MP representing east Cairo’s Heliopolis district, said in a TV interview on Saturday that a large number of MPs agree that there should be a grace period between one and three years to comply with the rules of the law.
“During this period there should be a public dialogue on these articles in a way that should ease financial burdens required to register and document a real estate property in real estate and notarisation offices,” said Shoukry.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli asked last week that an ad hoc commission including representatives from several ministries meet to review the new controversial Real Estate Registration Law which was passed by parliament last August.
Article 35 of the new Real Estate Registration law (law 186/2020) requires citizens to pay documentation and registration fees ranging from EGP 500 to EGP 2000, a 2.5 percent property tax, a 1 percent fee to be paid to the Syndicate of Lawyers, as well as other expenses and bureaucratic intricacies that will take one year in order to at last be able to have their property documented,” said Shoukry.
He added that “the article also makes it impossible for citizens to have access to electricity, water, and natural gas services unless they first pay the required fees and finish the long-complicated measures.”
“It is by no means fair to compel citizens to comply with this difficult law in order to be able to have access to essential services,” said Shoukry.
In a statement on Friday, Mostaqbal Watan said “it has followed with utmost concern broad-scale reactions and debate on social media over the new law regulating the documentation and registration of real estate property in real estate and notarisation offices.”
It added that “as a result of the above — and in line with our principles, which are based on meeting the needs of ordinary Egyptian citizens, the party announces that it intends to submit a proposed amendment to the law related to the documentation and registration of real estate property real estate and notarisation offices in a way that will help citizens register their real estate rights in a much simplified way and also guarantee the state’s right in regulating the performance of real estate and notarisation offices.”
A number of other political parties in parliament also announced on Saturday that they support Mostaqbal Watan’s initiative, saying in a statement that “there is a pressing need to amend the new Real Estate Registration law or better postpone its implementation for at least one year.”