The 22 decisions aim to achieve a qualitative leap in the economy.
They include incentives for investors in various sectors.
They also include many proposals for legislative amendments that the government would present to parliament to vote on in the upcoming period.
Ahram Online compiled a simple guide to the 22 decisions and their aims.
1. Regarding establishing companies, the council approved a draft resolution aiming to study the amendment of some articles of the Executive Regulations of Investment Law No. 72 of 2017. The amendments would make it easier for companies to be established and operate in Egypt.
2. The council also approved a draft resolution aiming to amend the text of Article 34 of Investment Law No. 72 of 2017 to allow the licensing of natural gas-based industry projects as one of the production inputs in order to operate under the free zones system. Aimed to attract FDIs, the free zone system in Egypt is a special economic zone that is located within the country's borders but is subject to different economic regulations including exemption from income tax, sales tax, import, and export duties.
3. The council endorsed a 10-day approval process for all necessary requirements when establishing a company. The move aims to boost investor confidence and simplify the process of conducting business in the country.
4. The General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) will collaborate with the relevant authorities to create a single online platform for project establishment, operation, and settlement. The platform will make it easier for investors to obtain the necessary approvals and permits.
5. The council also approved amendments to the Electronic Signature Law (Law No. 15 of 2004). The amendments will make it easier for businesses to use electronic signatures, which will further streamline the business process.
6. The council tasked the Ministry of Justice to draft legislative amendments to overcome restrictions related to land ownership and facilitate foreigners' ownership of the real estate. The government also approved expanding the beginning of the golden license. Aimed also to attract FDIs as well as private investments, the golden license grants investors approval to buy or rent lands and operate and manage projects, without the need to gain approval from multiple government bodies.
7. The council also approved expanding the issuance of the golden license to companies that are not establishing strategic or national projects as well as to companies established before the Investment Law of 2017.
8. The council tasked the government to study the transfer of regulatory authority in certain utility sectors in order to ensure their independence from the government. This will help enhance the separation between ownership and management in a number of state sectors.
9. The council also approved a resolution amending certain legal provisions which grant preferential treatment to state-owned entities and companies.
10. The council approved a draft resolution to create a monitoring unit within the cabinet to oversee state-owned companies. The unit will collect data on these companies, make binding decisions on restructuring, and report to the president and the cabinet every three months.
11. To address the difficulty in importing production supplies, the council has approved a resolution to amend Law No. 7 of 2017. The amendment allows foreign investors to be registered as importers – even if they do not hold Egyptian citizenship – for a period of 10 years. This is part of the government's efforts to facilitate import procedures for foreign investors.
12. The council approved a draft resolution preventing any entity from issuing regulatory decisions which add financial or procedural burdens to projects subject to the investment law. These decisions cannot be made without obtaining the approval of the GAFI board of directors, the cabinet, and the Supreme Council for Investments. The aim of this resolution is the reduction of additional burdens imposed on investors.
13. To reduce financial and tax burdens on investors, the council approved a draft resolution which is regulated by clear mechanisms and conditions, to impose improvement fees according to related laws. The resolution establishes the basis for calculating each case. It also creates classifications for the required fee values based on the purpose of investment – whether it is in health, tourism, or hospitality – and it will be applied to all administrative authorities. This aims to address the issue of multiple entities imposing improvement fees on investors, which results in investors paying the same fees to several authorities over and over.
14. The council approved a draft resolution instructing the Ministry of Finance to establish a set-off system between investors' receivables and their tax or other obligations to government entities. The new system will allow investors to offset their receivables from the government against their tax or other obligations to the government. This system aims to expedite the repayment of value-added tax (VAT) within a specified timeframe of 45 days. The system is expected to be implemented within the next few months.
15. To create a stable tax legislative environment, the council approved a resolution to expedite the announcement of the state's tax policy document for the next five years. This is to eliminate the instability of tax legislation, the multiplicity of agencies responsible for it, and the imposition of additional fees by various entities.
16. Another draft resolution was passed to the Ministry of Justice to swiftly complete changes to the law on transferring profits to parent and subsidiary companies. This will help reduce taxes and avoid double taxation, therefore encouraging both domestic and foreign investment.
17. The council approved a draft resolution assigning the Ministry of Justice to amend the Civil and Commercial Litigation Law No. 13 of 1968. The amendments will increase the jurisdiction of economic and partial courts, expand the scope of their objective jurisdiction to resolve commercial disputes and raise the non-appealable threshold (please rewrite to clarify ambiguous sentence). This is expected to enhance commercial dispute resolution mechanisms and expedite contract enforcement.
18. The council approved another draft resolution assigning the ministry of justice to issue a binding regulatory decree with clear guidelines to determine a specific timeframe to compensate investors in cases of expropriation – not exceeding three months. Administrative authorities are obliged to intensify negotiations with investors for appropriate compensation. The decision aims to provide investors with a clear and transparent process to obtain compensation in cases of expropriation.
19. The council approved a draft resolution to utilize the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in order to contract with a global consulting firm to develop a clear shared vision and strategy for investment in Egypt. The strategy will focus on improving Egypt's ranking in the Ease of Doing Business Index and achieving the national target of raising investment rates to between 25 percent and 30 percent.
20. The council directed a review to amend nine articles of the Special Economic Zones Law No. 83 of 2005, adding several new articles, to provide benefits and exemptions to the economic zone.
21. The council assessed the establishment of a permanent unit within the cabinet, led by the CEO of the General Authority for Investment, tasked with developing policies, laws, and regulations to promote the growth and prosperity of startups in Egypt. This unit will also receive complaints from startups in coordination with the Investor Problem-Solving Unit and develop appropriate solutions in coordination with the relevant entities.
22. The council also approved a set of incentives to support various sectors and projects. The package includes support for agriculture, industry, and green hydrogen production in the energy sector. It also supports the housing sector, real estate developers, investment projects in new cities, and the transportation sector by unifying pricing strategies and reducing export fees and customs.