Parliament is scheduled to discuss the consumer protection bill in the first week of March, according to economic affairs committee’s representative Amr El-Gohary, adding that each article will be discussed and voted on separately.
The parliament tentatively approved the bill last February, and a session for final discussion and vote is scheduled to be in the first week of March, according to El-Gohary.
El-Gohary further stated the parliament’s economic committee agreed to grant the power of issuing the executive regulations of the bill within three months to Prime Minister Sherif Ismail rather than the Supply and Internal Trade Ministry.
“The bill includes one important article determining and controlling a strategic commodities list, noting that control of strategic commodities falls within the prime minister’s jurisdiction,” the MP said.
El-Gohary added this article might lead to minor mishaps in application, especially during goods shortages, as with what happened during the sugar crisis of 2016.
In the same vein, the committee introduced another article proscribing the monopoly on strategic goods for sale whether by selling, buying, or harbouring as this shall constitute a direct violation of the law.
A decree is to be made by the prime minister in consultation with the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA), by virtue of which a strategic commodities list is to be determined and controlled for a specific period. The decree with all its specifics will be published in two daily and widely circulated national newspapers. This decree will stipulate upon traders to notify the concerned agency with the categories and amounts of strategic goods, be they for personal use or otherwise, that they are holding or storing.
For his part, El-Gohary is legitimately concerned about an overlap that might occur between the powers granted to the CPA and the Food Safety Authority (FSA), as well as the Supply and Trade Ministry, warning that “this will probably cause a stark market volatility, which requires the separation of authorities’ powers to avoid interference.”
MP Mohammed Badrawi said the bill will contribute to controlling the market sector in the coming period and protect consumers from counterfeit consumer goods.
Badrawi added the bill is in the best interest of both the producer and the consumer as it strikes a balance between the two parties, thus increasing competitiveness in the Egyptian economy.