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Cabinet delays presenting its programme to parliament - Daily News Egypt

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Cabinet delays presenting its programme to parliament

Programme presentation delayed until ratification of parliamentary bylaw, expected by end of February, followed by electing heads of permanent committees

The government will postpone presenting its programme to the House of Representatives until the completion of issuing the bylaw and the formation of qualitative committees.

Members of the House of Representatives told Daily News Egypt that there are expectations that the bylaw will be issued by the end of February.

The cabinet is expected to present its programme to the parliament for approval, in a bid to circumvent the requirement of reshuffling the cabinet upon the election of a new parliament.

MP Kamal Ahmed, head of the interim Planning and Budget Committee, said formation of qualitative committees is an important requirement before looking into the cabinet’s programme. This process will ensure that the cabinet maintains efficiency in performing its tasks.

Ahmed said the final ratification of the bylaw is expected in the upcoming days and at the end of February at the latest. Following this, committees will be formed and heads, as well as representatives, will be elected.

In January, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail requested different ministries to send their programmes to formulate a unified programme and propose it to the House of Representatives.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi demanded that the government propose its upcoming programme to the House of Representatives to obtain its approval to continue performing its tasks.

Minister of Planning Ashraf El-Araby said the government’s proposal of its programme to the House of Representatives prior to the formation of specialised committees will increase the chances of its rejection. The current interim committees lack the specialisation required to look into the programme.

He further noted the current parliament includes multiple political segments, lending significance to the process of studying the governmental programme by such a diverse cross-section of representatives.

El-Araby explained several draft laws for economic projects were proposed to the parliament for discussion, most prominently the value-added tax (VAT) law, which has yet to be discussed due to the prioritisation of issuing the bylaw.

He expected the VAT draft law to be passed to the specialised committees once they are formed, prior a general parliamentary review.

The VAT draft law aims to subject services to taxes. However the government stressed that the draft law will not affect basic goods for low-income citizens, according to El-Araby.

El-Araby clarified that once the draft law is approved, the president will specify the exact tax rate.

He further emphasised the “positive benefit” that VAT law is expected bring, which is expanding the tax base. However, there will be trouble in expansion in exemptions provided by the law.

El-Araby explained the total volume of Egypt’s economy is nearing the EGP 6tn mark but only EGP 2.8tn is recorded in the formal economy. This is an issue that the VAT law seeks to address by merging the informal economy with the formal one.

This in turn is expected to allow for the issuance of accurate economic decisions to regulate economy.

“There should be no rush in terms of tax reforms before developing tax administrations since it is considered a greatly important aspect of the tax system,” El-Araby said.

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