Egypt parliament to vote on harsher penalties for illegally building on farmland

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 16 Oct 2022

The Egyptian parliament’s deputy speaker Ahmed Saadeddin said that a final vote on amendments to the 1966 Agriculture Law, which imposes harsher penalties for illegally building on farmland, will be postponed to a later session.

Parliament
AFP

 

The one-article bill (Article 156) will be amended to impose a fine between EGP 500,000 and EGP 10 million and a jail term ranging from two to five years.

Currently, the law stipulates a fine of EGP 100,000 to EGP five million and two to five years in jail.

Contractors and engineers implicated in violating the amended law will be subject to three to five years in jail and a fine of EGP 100,000 to EGP 3 million. They will also be stripped of their membership in the Syndicate of Engineers and the General Federation of Contractors.

Deputy chairman of the House's Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee Ihab El-Tamawy said the amendments aim to stem the tide of building on agricultural land.

"In fact, the amendments also aim to protect the country's food security, as agricultural land is the major source of food in this country," said El-Tamawy, noting that "Egypt has lost around 1 million feddans of farmland to haphazard construction over the last 40 years due to a lack of tough penalties."

"Agricultural land is essential for Egypt, whose population is increasing by 2 million every year," said El-Tamawy.

Meanwhile, MPs have said that the government is not doing enough to save the poultry industry from collapse and bankruptcy. Head of the Agriculture Committee Hesham El-Hossary said the war in Ukraine has led to a severe shortage in poultry feed – corn and soya beans – and this in turn has led to a dramatic rise in poultry and egg prices.

El-Hossary said the committee is coordinating with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, the Central Bank of Egypt and the Ministry of Agriculture to find a solution to problems facing poultry producers.

"There will be a meeting on Sunday to find a way out of this crisis," said El-Hossary, noting that "the government released $50 million worth of corn and Soya bean imports necessary for chicken feed earlier this month, and Sunday's meeting will probe the possibility of the Central Bank of Egypt releasing an additional amount in FX to open letters of credit to import more soya beans and corn and save the poultry industry with EGP 100 million in investments."

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