By Mohammed Ayyad
Egypt is inundated by redundant and conflicting legislation, said Dr Hany Sarieddine, Chair of Cairo University’s Faculty of Commercial Law.
The Supreme Committee for Legislative Reform formed by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is “necessary”, Sarieddine continued, to review conflicting legislation impeding ministries’ work and hindering the expansion of investment.
“We have an arsenal of existing economic legislation that requires immediate revision because it is a burden to investors,” he added.
The Supreme Committee for Legislative Reform, formed according to Presidential Decree 187/2014, and headed by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, held its first meeting on Saturday. The meeting was attended by the ministers of justice and transitional justice, and a number of specialists and representatives from concerned bodies.
Sarieddine is responsible for the economic file for the group of advisers to President Al-Sisi and also served in the presidential campaign. He said that in the absence of a parliament responsible for enacting legislation and monitoring the government’s enforcement of it, the legislative reform committee is particularly important. Their work will cover existing legislation and the review and adjustment of new legislation, including tax legislation and laws on harassment and parliamentary elections.
“The Committee will review all draft laws and amendments that have been consulted upon during the past few months, the most important of which are the tax laws, and the state’s draft budget, in addition to reforming all conflicting legislation obstructing the work of the ministries,” said Sherif Shawky, media adviser to the prime minister.
The government imposed a tax on capital gains and monetary dividends from the stock market, and a tax of around 5% on incomes exceeding EGP 1m per year. The latter step seeks to achieve a more just tax distribution while helping to fund the budget deficit, a move which also requires introducing amendments to the income law.
In a cabinet statement, the meeting discussed a mechanism to bring into force and implement the decision to form the committee.
The next meeting, set for next week, will take place pending the final selection of the committee’s members after approval of relevant bodies. The formation of the technical secretariat for the committee is also expected by the upcoming meeting.
Prime Minister Mehleb said they must accelerate the start of the committee’s work to review and adjust legislation. This will contribute to creating a legislative environment that stimulates growth, especially economically, where it will encourage investment in the Egyptian market, Mehleb said.
The Supreme Committee for Legislative Reform was formed to prepare and study draft laws, presidential decrees, and decisions of the prime minister being issued or amended. The Committee is also to research and review key laws to develop and renew legislation, simplify adjudication and facilitate its procedures.
The Committee’s work also includes researching and studying subjects presented by the Committee Head by virtue of its relation to relevant legislation, and presenting necessary recommendations on the issue.
Egypt suffers from a disorganised business environment weighed down by a complex adjudication system difficult to navigate, disrupting its ability to attract investments.