House of Representatives to discuss new bills on money laundering, budget, pilgrimage visas

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 8 May 2022

Hanafy El-Gebaly — speaker of Egypt’s House of Representatives — announced in a plenary session on Sunday that the government referred three new bills to the House that tackle money laundering activities, new budgetary allocations, and Haj (pilgrimage) visas.

Hanafy El-Gebaly
Speaker of Egypt s House of Representatives Hanafy El-Gebaly

 

El-Gebaly said the bill on the Anti-Money Laundering Law (Law 80/2002) was referred to the Economic Affairs and the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committees to be discussed in hearing sessions.

The bill, which was approved by the Cabinet in a meeting on 20 April, aims to set up an independent anti-money laundering unit to be affiliated with the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).

The anti-money laundering unit, which will also help fight funding of terrorist operations, will be led by a council of trustees to be headed by a judicial official with at least 15 years of experience in cassation and appeal courts.

Members of the unit’s council of trustees will include the prosecutor-general, the CBE’s deputy governor, deputy chairperson of the General Financial Supervisory Authority, head of the Cabinet’s Council of Advisers, a representative from the Egyptian Federation of Banks, an economic expert, and the unit’s executive director.

The bill also states that all financial institutions as well as leaders of non-financial professions and activities shall be obliged to implement all the instructions and orders that will be issued by the anti-money laundering unit in line with international conventions and agreements in this respect. Violators will be obliged to pay a fine ranging from EGP 100,000 to EGP 300,000.

El-Gebaly also revealed that a legislative amendment to the Budget Law was referred to the House’s Budget Committee to be discussed.

The amendment states that an additional allocation will be earmarked to the current FY 2021/22 budget. The speaker did not say how much the additional allocation will be or what it will fund, however, insider parliamentary sources say that it will cover the increase in the bill of imports caused by the war in Ukraine.

Furthermore, El-Gebaly indicated that a new bill aiming to regulate Haj (pilgrimage) in terms of setting up the Unified Egyptian Portal for Online Haj Visas was also submitted to the House.  

He said that the bill — which was referred to the House’s Tourism and Civil Aviation Committee for discussion — states that an online portal to apply for visas will be made available for Egyptian citizens seeking to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform their pilgrimage.

“All the information related to Egyptian pilgrims will be registered on this Unified Egyptian Portal for Pilgrimage ahead of their travel,” said the bill, adding that “each pilgrim will have a code number to be stamped on their passport.”

The bill also states that at the start of every pilgrimage season, an official mission will be formed to follow and evaluate the performance of authorities in charge of organising pilgrimages and will then send their recommendations to the president.

Additionally, the House approved on Sunday a government-drafted law aiming to regulate the Cairo-based El-Zahraa Station for Raising Authentic Arab Horses.

Chairperson of the House’s Agriculture Committee Hesham El-Hosary said the bill’s philosophy is to recover Egypt’s pioneering role in the area of raising and breeding authentic Arab horses in order to create a tourist, economic, and cultural added value for the country in this respect.

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