In a statement on Tuesday, Maait said that the number of applicants for the scheme, which began on 15 November, has so far reached 34,000. He added that the country’s customs authority has since been releasing the imported cars daily.
Government officials expect 500,000 to one million Egyptian expats to take advantage of the scheme and hope it will attract foreign currency worth around EGP 50 billion ($2.5 billion).
The government had approved a draft law allowing Egyptian expats — estimated at around 14 million — to import one private car per person into Egypt free of customs duties and taxes, based on a set of conditions, to help out with a hard currency crunch.
Since the onset of the Russian-Ukrainian war, Egypt has been suffering from a drop in foreign currency.
According to figures from the Central Bank of Egypt, foreign reserves registered $34 billion in December 2022, down from $40.9 billion in February.
Egyptians aged 16 and above who have dual citizenship and valid residence permits abroad are eligible to apply for the scheme.
Anyone who wants to benefit from the scheme is required to make a hard currency interest-free deposit at an Egyptian bank equivalent to the value of the saved custom duties and taxes. The deposit is redeemable after five years.
Those wishing to take advantage of the programme can apply via Cars of Egyptians Abroad mobile application. The application is made available by the government on iOS App store and Android App store.
To determine the value of the cash transfer, the applicant requests the car to be evaluated. Cars are evaluated at basic, medium, and high to determine their custom and tax value.
The application also allows Egyptians abroad to purchase cars in Egypt’s duty-free zones. These cars will be subject to the same rules prescribed for importing a car from their country of residence provided that a cash transfer is made from abroad.
The customs clearance service will not cost more than EGP 3,000.