The Supreme Council for Investment in its first session on Tuesday has come up with a resolutions package described by economy and investment experts as a catalyst for investment which could accelerate the pace of growth in the economy.
The package included the allocation of industrial lands equipped with the necessary, main facilities at zero cost, as well as tax exemptions for agricultural and industrial investment in Upper Egypt for five years, along with the new projects that would manufacture and produce strategic goods that could replace imports or be channeled to exports.
Moreover, the package also froze the capital gains tax for three years and obliged concerned ministries and government agencies to implement all decisions issued by the ministerial Committee for Investment Arbitrations within 15 days. A permanent committee will also be formed within the Ministry of Investment to investigate complaints filed by investors.
The council was founded by a decision made by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in October.
Package puts Egypt back on the international investment map to attract local, global funds
Investment expert Hany Tawfik described the decisions of the Supreme Investment Council as a huge leap in encouraging and stimulating investment.
He said this will put Egypt back on the international investment map and accelerate attracting local and foreign funds. He believes that the package is a big achievement on the road towards attracting more local and foreign investments. “These decisions are the lights amid the gloomy darkness,” says Tawfik.
Hany Genena, head of research at Beltone Financial, also said that the decisions are very important for reform, but called for them to be implemented quickly to ensure the local and international business communities that have their eyes fixed on Egypt so as to inject further investments.
He added that moving to Upper Egypt contributes to achieving a balanced development at the geographical level and could have a positive impact on citizens who would be able to see a direct outcome of these investments. He noted that tax exemptions were needed to push investors towards Upper Egypt. However, he highlighted the importance of developing the management and diversification aspects of the business and eliminating bureaucracy, which he described as the main rival to investment.
The Supreme Counci lof Investment aims to review the investment policies of the state and identify activities and projects of priority across various specialised sectors and geographical areas, as well as penning the general framework of legislative and administrative reforms for the investment environment so it can remove all obstacles facing investors.
Tawfik also agrees with the decision for the council to move quickly to improve the investment climate, support the national economy, achieve sustainable development, and coordinate between all ministries and agencies to implement a comprehensive national plan.
According to Genena, obliging ministries and government agencies to implement all decisions of the ministerial committee for arbitrations within 15 days will settle disputes faster, which stimulates the growth of existing investments.
Tawfik said that tasking the technical secretariat of the council to communicate with the business community and study proposals put on the table for the removal of investment obstacles is a move that reflects openness towards the opinions of all economic players.
The council decided to form a permanent committee at the Ministry of Investment to discuss complaints from investors and present periodic reports on them to the council. The General Authority for Investment (GAFI) is tasked to establish a company to promote investment in Egypt and abroad.
The council instructed related ministries and government agencies, each in their respective fields, to issue executive decisions and put together the necessary legislations to implement all decisions.