Fakhry El-Fiqi, chairman of the House's Budget Committee, said customs tariffs should change every now and then to reflect economic developments at both international and local levels and serve local productive projects.
"In fact, custom tariffs should be used to secure a balance between the objective of activating productive and commercial life at both the local and international level, and the necessity of imposing reasonable customs tariffs on imported goods at the same time," said El-Fiqi, adding that "changing customs tariffs and systems should come in a way that serves new economic realities and help make the investment climate in Egypt more attractive."
El-Fiqi revealed that many Egyptian industrial companies have lately lodged a number of complaints with the Ministry of Finance, asking it to impose custom taxes on some imported products to make the investment climate more attractive, tackle custom distortions, and protect local industries.
"As a result, the Ministry of Finance-affiliated Technical Secretariat of the Higher Council of Custom Tariffs and representatives from the two ministries of Industry and Trade have reviewed the proposed changes put down by these companies and come up with the new changes," said El-Fiqi, indicating that "the new customs tariffs aim to encourage local industries, and generate more revenues for the state budget." "We agree that some imported goods negatively impact the competitive edge of local industries at the internal and external markets and that customs taxes should be imposed to protect local industries from such unfair competition," said El-Fiqi.
El-Fiqi indicated that the presidential decree states that there will be a ten percent customs tax on the cost of imported mobile phones.
The new tax applies to all phones sold in Egypt except for those assembled by local electronics outfit Sico.
Accordingly, phone prices could increase 10-14% on the back of the new tax.
El-Fiqi also said there will be a five percent tax on imported optical fibers. "Besides, there will be a 2 percent and 20 percent tax on two kinds of imported marble (mainly used in producing ceramics). The 20 per cent tax will be on fully manufactured marble products, while a 2 percent custom tax will remain effective on imported raw marble.
Some MPs said though the above move will raise prices of imported mobile phones on the local market, it could help customers buy Egypt's locally produced mobile phone "SICO".