Egypt Coun­cil ap­proves raft of mea­sures to boost in­vest­ment

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Egypt’s Supreme In­vest­ment Coun­cil has ap­proved a host of mea­sures to boost in­vest­ment that in­cluded an ex­tended sus­pen­sion of cap­i­tal gains tax on shares and tax ex­emp­tions for pro­duc­ers in strate­gic sec­tors. Egypt has been try­ing to at­tract in­vest­ment to re­store growth since an up­ris­ing in 2011, which ush­ered in pro­tracted po­lit­i­cal tur­moil and scared away tourists and for­eign in­vest­ment - its main sources of hard cur­rency. The coun­cil, set up by Pres­i­dent Ab­del Fat­tah El-Sisi last month and chaired by him, ap­proved a to­tal of 17 mea­sures, Sisi’s of­fice said in a state­ment.

The gov­ern­ment had im­posed a 10 per­cent tax on cap­i­tal gains from shares in July 2014 as part of ef­forts to boost a se­verely strained bud­get, but froze it for two years in Au­gust 2015. Tues­day’s state­ment said the freeze would be ex­tended for three years, though it was not clear if this was from now or from the in­tended end in 2017. Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials could not be reached for com­ment. The mea­sures also in­cluded wide-rang­ing tax ex­emp­tions for farm­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers who pro­duce strate­gic crops or goods that Egypt im­ports or ex­ports.

There were also new ways to set­tle tax dis­putes and to re­duce bu­reau­cratic bar­ri­ers to in­vest­ment, no­tably by in­tro­duc­ing tem­po­rary man­u­fac­tur­ing li­censes while fac­to­ries com­plete pa­per­work, and forc­ing gov­ern­ment agen­cies to grant li­censes or set­tle dis­putes faster. “The Supreme In­vest­ment Coun­cil aims to re­view the state’s in­vest­ment poli­cies, ... re­move all ob­sta­cles fac­ing in­vestors, and ... im­prove the in­vest­ment cli­mate,” the state­ment said. The prime min­is­ter, the cen­tral bank gov­er­nor and the fi­nance, de­fense, in­te­rior, in­vest­ment, trade and jus­tice min­is­ters all sit on the coun­cil, along with the chief of the Gen­eral In­tel­li­gence Ser­vice. — Reuters

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