Egypt's Immigration Minister Nabila (Reuters)
Moves to exempt expatriates from paying customs duties on their automobiles upon their return to Egypt have been shelved pending agreement on legal and constitutional requirements, Minister of Immigration and Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram Ebeid said on Sunday.
The proposal was made in September of last year, as a benefit to Egyptian expatriates in exchange for a US dollar deposit between $10,000 and $20,000 for five years free of interest at the Central Bank.
The ministry faced two obstacles, the first being that the decision would allow two different customs standards for Egyptian citizens -- one for those who reside in Egypt and another for who have lived abroad -- which would go against the constitution, Ebeid said, speaking on a talk show on Al-Nahar TV channel.
The second was that the proposal contradicted the government's strategy to encourage local car manufacturing.
“The case has not been closed, but we have put it aside until we find a solution,” Ebeid said.
The minister did not mention the US dollar deposit in her comments on the talk show.
The exemption has been discussed with representatives from the Customs Authority as well as from the ministries of immigration, trade and industry, interior and foreign affairs, Ebeid said.
Exemption from customs tariffs on cars is the number one demand from Egyptian expatriates, Ebeid said on the TV show.
Egypt's car imports increased by 35 percent year-over-year in the first 10 months of fiscal year 2015/2016, according to the Egyptian customs authority.
The value of imported cars from July 2015 to April 2016 recorded EGP 35.8 billion, compared to EGP 26.6 billion in 2014/2015, and EGP 14.48 billion in 2013/2014.
The customs authority had also revealed that the value of the passenger cars imported from July 2015 to April 2016 reached EGP 21.08 billion, while other types of imported vehicles imported EGP 14.7 billion.