Transformative Reforms in Egypt’s Economic Legislation
On May 16, 2023, the Supreme Council for Investment approved 22 positive decisions across various sectors and economic domains. Leading these decisions was the approval of a project to expand the issuance of the golden license, not limited to companies establishing strategic or national projects, and allowing it to be granted to companies established before the implementation of the 2017 Investment Law.
They also approved a project to unify the regulatory frameworks for state-owned companies and establish a unified electronic platform for the establishment, operation, and liquidation of projects. This aims to resolve complexities among approval authorities and reduce bureaucratic obstacles that hinder the investment process.
Furthermore, the announcement of the state’s tax policy document for the next five years was made to avoid disruptions in tax legislation, ensuring a reduction in financial and tax burdens on investors.
Among the most important aspects of these decisions is the determination of a 10-working-day timeframe for all approvals, only once during the establishment process, instead of 30 days. Additionally, a specific timeframe not exceeding three months was set to compensate investors in cases of expropriation.
They also approved amending Article 34 of the Investment Law to ensure the licensing of projects in industries based on natural gas as one of the production inputs to operate under the Free Zone system.
To capitalize on the recent real estate boom in Egypt and attract foreign currency, changes have been approved to the Foreign Ownership of Real Estate Law in Egypt. These changes allow foreigners to own properties in Egypt without any restrictions on the number of properties, provided that payment is made in foreign currency. Additionally, foreign investors are now permitted to be registered as importers for a period of 10 years without the requirement of holding Egyptian citizenship.
In addition to the above, and as a reinforcement of mechanisms for commercial dispute settlement and expedited contract enforcement, the Ministry of Justice was assigned to amend the Civil and Commercial Procedures Law to elevate the jurisdiction of economic and partial courts and expand their objective jurisdiction to resolve commercial disputes, along with raising the threshold for non-appealable cases.
To conclude, this article aims to highlight that the Egyptian government is taking decisive steps to enhance investments, whether domestic or foreign and eliminate bureaucratic obstacles, with the aim of diversifying the production base and achieving economic progress.
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