Egypt’s trade, environment ministers to face questions in parliament this week

Gamal Essam El-Din , Saturday 4 Jun 2022

Egypt’s Parliament — the House of Representatives — will reconvene this week to hold plenary sessions on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday to question Minister of Trade and Industry Nevine Gamea and Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad on their policies.

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On Sunday, Gamae is scheduled to answer six questions and discuss 70 topics of general debate on different aspects of the government’s industrial policies.

Foremost among these are questions on the future of localising the electric car industry in Egypt, the problems facing industrial investors, and the details of the recent industrial partnership agreement between Egypt, Jordan, and the UAE.

Other questions pertain to investment licensing procedures, industrial pollution, and the problems facing industrial zones.

On Monday, Fouad is also set to answer three questions and discuss 61 topics of general debate. Most of these are regarding concerns about environmental degradation in Egypt.

These questions will focus on the government’s strategy to fight air pollution, mitigating pollution of the Nile River, and conserving natural reserves.

Furthermore, some of the MPs’ questions will be related to the government’s policy of replacing fuel-powered cars with gas-powered and electric cars given that it is “an important step towards containing air pollution and conserving the environment.”

Other MPs are also interested to know why the Ministry of Environment takes too much time to approve licensing for industrial projects.

Additionally, MPs submitted information and open debate requests on the government’s preparations for the UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP27) that will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh this November.

New legislation, amendments

On Tuesday, the House is scheduled to discuss two draft laws, the first of which aims to suspend the application of the agricultural land tax law (Law 113/1939) for another year. The application of the law has been suspended for the past two years — From 1 August 2020 to 31 July 2022.

“As the current suspension is about to expire on 31 July 2022, the government decided to extend this suspension for another year — from 1 August 2022 to 31 July 2023 — in a bid to reduce tax burdens shouldered by agricultural farmers and businesses and also encourage them to double agricultural production,” said a parliamentary report on the government-drafted legislative amendment.

The House will also discuss another government-drafted legislative amendment to the Judicial Appeal Procedures Law (law 57/1959) aiming to give Criminal Courts affiliated with Cairo’s Appeal Courts the right to settle legal disputes for three years starting 1 October 2022.

“This amendment helps Cassation Courts speed up the process of issuing final verdicts on appeals filed before judicial courts and relieve them of the burdens they shoulder,” said a parliamentary report on the amendment.

Tuesday’s schedule also includes discussions on two foreign agreements between Egypt with South Korea and the European Investment Bank (EIB) on loans granted to upgrade the railway tracks between Luxor and the High Dam stations in upper Egypt, and between Tanta, Mansoura, and Damietta stations in the Nile Delta region.

The discussions will also revolve around another two foreign agreements, the first of which is between Egypt and the EIB on €78 million-loan to build a sanitary drainage station in south Cairo’s district of Helwan.

The second is regarding a loan of €52 million along with a grant of €25 million from the French Agency for Development that will also be allocated to building a sanitary drainage water treatment project in Helwan.

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