File Photo: Egypt s parliament during a session. Al-Ahram
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Alaaeddin Fouad said that the amendments to the 2017 law would provide compensation for contractors who suffered financial losses due to IMF-inspired liberalisation policies adopted in November 2016. These policies include EGP devaluation, lifting of fuel subsidies, and introduction of VAT law.
"Article one 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, indicating that "even if their complaints were rejected, contractors would still have the right to resort to courts to ask for compensation."
The Head of the House's Housing Committee Emad Saad Hammouda said that " just like the Senate did last month, the MPs have agreed to expand the scope of the bill beyond the March-December 2016 period so that it includes all periods of economic reforms causing financial losses to contractors involved in building projects and in delivering supplies and services for the government."
He added that "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."
Minister Alaa Fouad also praised the expansion of the scope of the bill, arguing that such expansion was "necessary to give the law a kind of permanence and credibility."
Following the House's recent approval of the amendments to the bill, article one of the bill now states that "the scope of the effect of this law will include the period between 1/3/2016 and 31/21/2016 as well as all other periods determined by the cabinet and proposed by the Higher Committee for Compensations."
Article two states that a Higher Committee for Compensations – affiliated with the Cabinet – will be set up to lay out the criterion according to which contractors will be compensated and to explore whether the losses they incurred were due to economic liberalisation policies or not.
Contractors asking for compensation should have all the documents necessary to show that their businesses have really suffered losses due to economic liberalisation policies.
At the end of the debate, the House speaker Hanafi El-Gebaly said that since the bill has been approved in principle, it will be put in an upcoming session to vote to be finally approved. Once finally approved, the bill will become a law and will be submitted to President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi for ratification.