Speaker of Parliament Hanafy El-Gebaly said the articles of the two amended laws were approved and that they will be put up for a final vote in a later session.
Ibrahim El-Heneidi, chairman of the House's Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee, said the amendments to the law regulating the safety of sea vessels (Law 232/1989) makes it obligatory for owners of Egyptian vessels to report the handling of their units (selling or renting) to concerned authorities.
"This amendment is necessary to help concerned authorities closely follow the commercial handling of ships, vessels and maritime transport units, build a good database on these operations, and effectively supervise the performance of owners to prevent the use of their units in any illegal operations," said El-Heneidi, adding that "the amendments toughen penalties on owners who decline to report the commercial handling of their maritime units or who use their units in illegal operations."
Article 20 of the draft law states that owners of vessels who decline to report the sale or renting of their units or who use them in illegal activities will be sentenced to one year in prison and forced to pay an amount of no less than EGP 50,000 and no more than EGP 500,000 in fine.
Article Seven states that owners or users of any Egyptian sea vessels should report any selling or renting of their units within 30 days of the date of the operation.
MP Atef Kirban said the amendment is very important because it helps state authorities closely follow the criminal activities committed by owners of sea ships and vessels, especially when used to smuggle migrants.
Meanwhile, the House also provisionally approved new amendments to the law regulating the performance of commercial agencies and commercial brokerage works (Law 120/1982).
Ahmed Samir, chairman of the House's Economic Affairs Committee, said the amendments aim to cope with the ongoing expansion in the field of commercial agencies and commercial and real estate brokerage works.
"The amendments seek to introduce new rules and objective procedures necessary to regulate the new developments in this sector in detail and in a way that will impose stricter control, particularly on the business of real estate brokerage works, and also stand up to money laundering operations in this respect," said Samir, also explaining that "right now there is a lot of chaos and indiscipline on the Egyptian real estate market, and that the new legislative amendments come to fight swindling and fraudulent activities which have become rampant in the area of real estate brokerage in recent years."
Samir explained that the amendments adopt digitisation and electronic payments in the area of commercial and real estate brokerage works. "To meet this objective, the amendments would set up electronic registries for licensed brokers in a way that will bring their activities under stricter control, not to mention that they require brokers to give detailed statements on the sale of real estate units," said Samir, adding that "the amendments also go in line with the state's public plans aimed at boosting investments, and integrating the real estate brokerage sector into the country's formal economy.”
"The activities of commercial agencies and real estate brokerage are gaining greater importance on the Egyptian market, and so laws regulating them should be streamlined all the time to go in line with international changes in this field and put them under stricter control," said Samir.
MP Wahid Qorqor said the amendments were made in order to fight swindling and money laundering activities which have swept the sector of real estate brokerage in recent years. "I hope the new amendments will regulate the sector of real estate brokerage in a more effective way and preserve the rights of sellers of buyers of property units at the same time," said Qorqor.
MP Ahmed Hitta said the law on commercial brokerage works was passed 40 years ago in 1982 and that it is high time to amend this law to stem the proliferation of cheating that has marred this sector for many years.