Egypt's parliament approves bill compensating contractors affected by economic reform

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 21 Nov 2022

Egyptian MPs approved in principle on Sunday legislative amendments that would allow contractors who have suffered losses due to the recent economic reforms to obtain financial compensation from the government.

File Photo: A general view of the Egyptian parliament during a working session (AP)

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Alaaeddin Fouad said the amendments to the 2017 law shall provide compensation to contractors who suffered financial losses due to IMF-inspired liberalisation policies adopted in November 2016, such as the floatation of the Egyptian pound, lifting fuel subsidies, and the introduction of the value-added tax law.

"Article 1 of the bill states that a Higher Committee for Compensations will be set up to look into complaints filed by contractors who suffered losses," said Fouad, adding that "even if their complaints were rejected, contractors will still have the right to resort  to court to request compensation."

The House of Representatives' Housing Committee Chairman Emad Hammouda stated that "as amended and approved by the Senate last month, MPs approve that the scope of the bill goes beyond the March-December 2016 period to include all periods of economic reform causing financial losses to contractors involved in building projects and delivering supplies and services to the government."

The amendments are necessary to stabilise the contracting market, ensure a smooth implementation of the state's national projects and safeguard the national economy against price shocks, Hammouda noted.

Fouad also approved that the period be extended. "This is necessary to give the law permanence and credibility," said Fouad.

Amended Article 1 states that "the scope of the effect of this law will include the period between 1/3/2016 and 31/21/2016 and all other periods determined by the cabinet and upon a proposal from the Higher Committee for Compensations."

Article 2 states that a Higher Committee for Compensations – affiliated with the cabinet – will be set up to determine the criteria according to which contractors will be compensated and whether the losses they suffered were due to economic liberalisation policies that led to price hikes in building materials and other inputs.

Contractors asking for compensation should have all the documents necessary to show that their businesses suffered losses due to economic liberalisation policies.

At the end of the debate, the House speaker Hanafy Gebaly said the bill will be up for a final approval vote in an upcoming session. Once finally approved, the bill will be ratified by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

Meanwhile, the House also approved on Sunday a new bill meant to regulate Al-Azhar's religious institutions. The three-article bill shall put Al-Azhar teachers on equal footing with their counterparts in government schools in terms of employment, promotion, salaries, bonuses, and incentives.

Final approval of the bill was postponed to an upcoming session.

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