Egypt's parliament takes a three-month summer holiday

Gamal Essam El-Din , Thursday 13 Jul 2023

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi signed a decree declaring the end of parliament's 2022/23 legislative season on Wednesday 12 July.

Egyptian Parliament
Egyptian Parliament

 

According to Egypt's 2014 constitution, parliament – the House of Representatives – must reconvene before the first Thursday of the month of October every year. This means that parliament will be out of session for nearly three months.

In a statement on Tuesday, the parliament's Speaker, Hanafi Gebaly, praised the House's performance before it went into summer recess. Gebaly said the House played a key role in "formulating and crystallizing a comprehensive strategy for this stage of economic reform, reviewing pressing social issues and everyday concerns of ordinary citizens and reinforcing positive coordination with the government."

Gebaly said the House had debated and passed as many as 188 laws in the outgoing 2022/23 session, the third in its five-year term.

Most of these dealt with economic, financial and budgetary matters.

"We passed laws establishing the Egyptian Authority for Intellectual Property Rights, the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Commerce, the Supreme Council for Vehicle Manufacturing, setting up a Fund for Financing the Electric Vehicle (EV) Assembly Industry, and an Authority for Regulating Domestic, International Land Transport and Freight," said Gebaly.

"The House has also passed laws introducing an initiative for Egyptian expats to import tax-free cars; legislative amendments to compensate contractors negatively affected by economic liberalization policies; laws that crack down on illegal construction on agricultural land, laws that legalize unlicensed industrial projects, and that give preferential tax treatment to contractors involved in building El-Dabaa nuclear power plant," added the Speaker.

In budgetary terms, the House passed a package of wage and pension hikes for state employees in FY 2023/2024, and approved the FY 2023/2024 state budget and socioeconomic development plan.

Before it adjourns for summer recess on Tuesday, the House also gave final approval to seven draft laws and four foreign agreements.

Topping the list are laws that eliminated tax exemptions for state-owned entities in a bid to level the playing field with the private sector, and an amendment to 2017's Investment Law to support private-sector participation and promote fairness, competition and transparency in the economy.

Also passed during the final session were laws setting up two new shipping terminals at the East Port Said port, worth $565 million.

The laws allow the Suez Canal Economic Zone to offer 30-year contracts to foreign companies to design, construct, manage, and operate the two new multi-purpose terminals.

Speaker Gebaly also believes that the House was successful in its role as an objective, unbiased watchdog over the government.

According to Gebaly, MPs submitted as many as 204 questions, an unprecedented 1,317 briefing requests for information from government ministers, and 19 urgent statements.

 "The House's 25 committees were also involved in seriously discussing legislation, and prepared as many as 1250 reports covering all aspects of life in Egypt," said Gebaly.

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