Egypt zero-customs car import initiative to generate $2 billion: Finance minister

Ahram Online , Monday 29 Jan 2024

Egypt's zero-customs car import initiative is projected to generate $2 billion, based on the high demand witnessed in the first and second phases, Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait said on Monday.

A file photo of imported cars in Egypt. Photo: Reuters
A file photo of imported cars in Egypt. Photo: Reuters

To accommodate the overwhelming interest observed in the previous two phases, Maait added that the initiative has been extended for three more months for Egyptians residing abroad.

"This extension aims to broaden the scope of beneficiaries and cater to the increasing demand among Egyptians living abroad," he highlighted.

On Sunday, the cabinet approved the extension, which will span an additional three months starting from 29 January.

Maait emphasized that the reduced customs and taxes will remain in effect for a period of five years following the import approval, allowing Egyptians living abroad to replace their vehicles at any time during this extended timeframe.

He said the initiative permits multiple individuals within a family to benefit from its advantages, as long as they meet the specified criteria.

El-Shahat Ghatouri, head of the Egyptian Customs Authority (ETA), announced the establishment of an international hotline number (15460) to receive inquiries from Egyptians residing overseas.

Launched in October 2022, the initiative enables expats to bring one personal-use vehicle to Egypt without incurring customs duties or taxes, including the value-added tax.

Following its initial success, the cabinet approved a relaunch of the initiative in October 2023 for a three-month period, concluding on 30 January 2024.

During the first phase, the initiative attracted 151,000 participating expats, generating approximately $763 million, Maait said earlier.

The second phase saw a notable surge in demand, with registration applications more than tripling in the first two months compared to the same period in the previous phase, Maait said earlier this month.

Participants in the initiative are required to deposit the equivalent value of customs duties in foreign currency, which is subsequently refunded to them in Egyptian pounds, in accordance with the initiative's terms.

The zero-customs car import initiative serves as one of Egypt's many endeavours to bolster revenue and address the nation's pressing shortage of hard currency and tackle the mounting external debt, amounting to $164.73 billion as of June 2023.

Egypt aims to achieve a revenue target of $191 billion by 2026 through similar initiatives.

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