By Ibrahim El-Masry
A number of representatives from Egypt’s upper house of parliament, the Shura Council, stated that they were ready to pass a series of new laws, once the country’s draft constitution is passed, which would have a large impact on several of the country’s most prominent economic sectors.
Deputy of Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee in the Shura Council, Hassan Youssef, said that the parliamentary body will officially obtain its legal legislative legitimacy once the draft constitution is passed. He added that the council will then deliberate the new laws, in addition to several others proposed by President Mohamed Morsy before the referendum. He claimed that passing these laws would nullify all prior constitutional declarations.
The nullification of all prior declarations was stipulated in an article of Egypt’s new draft constitution, which grants legislative authority to the Shura Council for a period of six months, or until elections for the House of Representatives are held. The article also states that the Shura Council in its current form would maintain legislative authority until the first meeting of the new House of Representatives, and that after that it would be given legislative authority once again until new elections are held to elect a new Shura Council, six months after the first meeting of the House of Representatives.
Youssef added that the Legislative Council has reviewed plans to transfer ownership of lands in Sinai and slowly incorporate government’s private funds into the country’s budget; although many of the country’s province’s administrative bodies had not yet approved this decision. Another law, which had been reviewed previously by the House of Representatives before it was dissolved, will be aimed to increase investment in Egypt.
Deputy of the Constitutional and Legislative Committee Taher Abd El-Mohsen said that all proposed laws will be brought before the Shura Council after the passing of the constitution. The Shura Council will begin discussion of these laws after a date which was determined to reconvene the House of Representatives.
President of the Industry Commitee for the Shura Council, Tarek Mustafa, said that the Council would begin deliberation on a number of laws once it was granted legislative authority. These laws included the creation of a unified electricity law, which would end clashes and disagreements between Egypt’s various ministries, and new rules governing the exploitation of the country’s mineral resources.
Mustafa added that these new laws sought to create a framework for the state to legally deal with investors in a way that would not be detrimental to their own interests.
Minister of Petroleum Osama Kamal, said that the country’s cabinet had temporarily rescinded the new law governing the exploitation of Egypt’s mineral resources in order to alter it in accordance with new suggestions made by experts in the mining industry. He added saying that the cabinet would present the rewritten law within 10 days.
Regarding Morsy’s recent amendments to Egypt’s tax code, Mustafa stated that they would only be applied after a national dialogue is held concerning its content.