The executive rule of Investment Law 8/1997 obliges administrative authorities to report to the General Authority for Investment (GAFI) the detailed maps of lands available for investment, according to Investment Minister Ashraf Salman.
“The maps include methods to allocate and estimate prices in addition to methods of recovery of lands,” Salman said in a press statement on Sunday. It came as part of a comment on the executive rule that was issued days ago for the Investment Guarantees and Incentives Law.
The government introduced a new section in the executive rule project of Law 17/2015, which includes obliging administrative authorities to provide GAFI with maps of lands available for investment.
Salman added that the executive rule included connecting GAFI with bodies maintaining authority over lands using an electronic connection system. This would then allow them to activate the one-stop-shop system and ban using lands and real estate available for investment before ensuring there are no disputes over them between different administrative bodies.
“The rule identified a clear role for both the investment ministry and bodies with authority over lands,” Salman said. He added that the public lottery system will be used in the case of an overcrowding between companies and establishments over the lands available for investment. There is also a need to organise the public lottery procedures to ensure transparency, Salman also said.
He said the one-stop-shop system’s activation will facilitate matters for investors, with GAFI the investors’ representative in all their dealings with specialised administrative bodies to issue licences and approvals for investors. The state, however, has to commit to providing approvals and licences only to GAFI.
“The one-stop-shop will accelerate the procedures of the investors’ obtaining licence and approvals necessary for obtaining lands and beginning work on projects,” he noted that this will shorten the time needed for such a process, which extended to several years in some cases.
The ministry introduced a section for complaints about GAFI’s decisions and free zones in the 9th section, to prevent the authority from becoming both an adversary and a judge as was the case previously.
In the new complaints system, the executive rule took into account that the committee must be neutral, headed by one of the state council’s advisers. It
stipulates that the decisions made by GAFI – as one of the specialised administrative authorities – must be decisions that can be complained about.
The preparation of articles in the executive rule also took into account the forming of the committee, its controls and the amount of time needed to submit requests and look into them.
During the preparation of the rule’s articles, the Investment Ministry and GAFI took into account the practical reality of dealing with investors, according to Salman.
He added that the rule included conditions and limitations of a number of investment fields. This included: re-drafting articles involving regulating the activity of both Cinema and factoring industries; in addition to reviewing the controls of converting companies’ capital from Egyptian pounds to any free currency, to ensure the protection of investors’ rights without compromising state’s rights (Article 8).
The rule also included adding controls and standards to enforce a trade-off among applicants in the case of overcrowding of applications between companies and establishments during preparation of available licences. This would occur in addition to modifying the system providing licences and final approvals to facilitate procedures for investors and organise the complaints mechanism about decisions of administrative authorities.
Salman explained that the new rule included a separate concerned with granting facilities and additional non-tax incentives for investment projects. This is in addition to a filtration done to articles of free zones in accordance with provisions of Law 8/1997 and its amendments, in a way that protects interests of investors with the free zone system according to the practical application experience.
According to Salman, a new section has been put in the new executive rule which would organise the investment areas in terms of the investment policy of these areas and the getting the approvals and licences, as well as setting regulations necessary for construction.
Salman said that amending and filtering the articles of the investment incentives and guarantees as well as its executive rule was never the target alone. It is only the means and a legislative addition. It is also a new positive procedural step, in which it was put into consideration to be in the best legal form possible.
The law targets providing a suitable climate for investments in Egypt and attracting more local and foreign investments, within a plan and policy by the state and all of its ministries and bodies.