Cairo announces new industrial licensing law

14 August 2017

The waiting period to receive licences for 80 per cent of industries will be reduced to one week or less

Cairo has announced executive regulations for the country’s new industrial licensing law, according to a statement from the Ministry of Trade and Industry on 13 August.

The new regulations provide a streamlined policy for the new industral licencing law, which was passed earlier this year.

Through the new law, the waiting period for 80 per cent of industries to receive licences will be reduced to one week or less, while the remaining 20 per cent will require about one month due to their higher risks to health, environment, safety or security, the statement said.

The new regulations will reduce the time it takes to obtain industrial licences from 600 to to 30 days.

Earlier this year, the ministry will also take ownership of all industrial projects outside the proposed Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) in order to offer a similar one-stop shop window for investors.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry recently set itself a target to boost non-oil exports by 10 per cent a year to $30bn by 2020.

In May this year, Egypt’s parliament approved the country’s long-awaited investment law. The new law focuses on diversifying incentives and guarantees for investors.

The government first approved an investment law in March 2015 aimed at bolstering investor confidence, eliminating bureaucracy and easing the procedures to obtain licences for projects and attracting foreign investment.

The law includes a number of incentives such as a 50 per cent tax break on investments made in underdeveloped areas, and government support for the cost of connecting key utilities.

Additionally, the new law restores private sector free zones as well as rebates on acquired land for industrial projects if production begins within two years.

Analysts have previously told MEED that commercial and investment laws in Egypt are set up in a way where new laws and improvements are simply applied on top of those already in existence.

Cairo has said the new investment law promises to create a genuine one-stop shop for investors to secure licences, procure land and obtain utility connections. It will also set up a standard framework for dispute resolution, including a clause that will make arbitration rulings binding on the government, but not on investors.

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