Egyptian parliament approves new investment law to smooth business, attract dollars

Ahram Online and Reuters, Sunday 7 May 2017

Egyptian parliament
A file photo of Egypt's Parliament (Photo:Ahram Online)

Egypt’s House of Representatives approved on Sunday a new investment law that grants investors a number of incentives, including tax breaks.

The law was drafted by the Egyptian government in March 2015 with the aim of cutting red tape and attracting foreign investments.

It is expected to boost badly needed investment by cutting down bureaucracy, especially for starting new projects, and providing more incentives to investors looking to put money in Egypt.

The government approved an earlier version of the investment law in 2015 that it said would bolster investor confidence, but the legislation was criticised for coming up short.

The new investment law includes a raft of new incentives, such as a 50 percent tax discount on investments made in underdeveloped areas and government support for the cost of connecting utilities to new projects.

One provision will return to investors half of what they pay to acquire land for industrial projects if production begins within two years.

The law also restores private sector free zones - areas exempt from taxes and customs - a provision that had held up the law's passage because of objections over whether to forfeit tax revenues at a time of austerity.

Egypt's direct foreign investment jumped 39 percent in the first half of the current fiscal year ending in June to reach$4.3 billion. 

The new law is yet to be ratified by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. 

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