The ministerial economic group agreed on a number of restrictions and procedures to limit the huge imports’ bill, and protect the local industry, according to a statement by the cabinet on Monday.
The procedures and restrictions, according to the government’s statement, included the tightening of control on the customs port in cooperation with Ministries of Defence and Interior, and security bodies. That is in order to prevent smuggling, and maintain the rights of the public treasury through customs fees and taxes imposed on the imports.
The procedures also included placing reference prices to prevent the phenomenon of counterfeit bills, and the bills that do not represent the actual values of imported commodities, in order to protect the local product.
Reference prices were introduced and circulated in ports, covering more than 300 commodities, most importantly fabrics of all types, readymade garments, and furniture.
Egypt is suffering from a severe lack in the dollar currency, and the continuation of the pound’s decline against foreign currencies, which significantly increased the imports bill, and further burdened the Egyptian pound. The government seeks to limit non-essential imports, and support Egyptian manufacturers.
About 8,000 smuggling cases were reported in the last fiscal year (2014/2015). Customs revenues achieved EGP 22bn, 106.5% of the targeted revenue, for the first time, in spite of the free trade agreements with a large number of countries, and the exemptions approved by the laws, which amounted to about EGP 8.8bn in total in 2014/2015.
The ministerial economic group held a meeting on Monday, headed by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, to discuss how to protect the local industry, and control the huge imports’ bill, due to the dollar crisis.
The procedures also included providing the Customs Authority with advanced detectors, which contributes to limiting the number of the smuggled commodities. This is in addition to cooperation with the Central Bank of Egypt to link the amount of cash obtained by the importer from the banks to the bills he/she submits to the Customs Authority.