Egypt's parliament to discuss host of economic legislation and int'l agreements this week

Gamal Essam El-Din , Saturday 16 Oct 2021

Following two procedural sessions two weeks ago, the House of Representatives will get down to business this week, including discussions of amendments that encourage private participation in public development projects as well as international business agreements.

Egyptian parliament
A file photo for Egypt s Parliament (Photo : Al-Ahram

On Sunday, the House will discuss new amendments to Law (67/2010) regulating the participation of the private sector in implementing infrastructure, service and public utilities projects. The amendments were approved by the House's Budget Committee on 11 October.

A report prepared by the committee said the new legislative amendments will allow the private sector to implement works related to designing, funding, implementing, operating, utilising and maintaining public projects. "The amendments also allow the state's administrative system to award contracts to private sector companies in a much easier way to implement most infrastructure projects in areas of transport, electricity, communications, information technology, water, sanitary draining, education, etc," said the report.

The report said the amendments come within the state’s new strategy of carrying out a number of mega-development housing projects, the most important of which is building the New Administrative Capital. “The role of the private sector in these projects is very important and so it is necessary that the Law (67/2010) be amended to give it a larger role in this respect in the coming period,” the report said.

The draft amendments were referred to parliament a long time ago, according to Deputy Chairman of the Budget Committee Yasser Omar. Omar said they are ripe for discussion now “because it is high time to give a boost to national mega projects which have become beyond the financial capacity of the state and government contracting companies.” He added that when new amendments go into effect they will open the door for the private sector to undertake the implementation of a greater number of mega national projects.

Omar also explained that the new amendments will help simplify procedures required for winning project contracts and eliminate administrative obstacles which will make it much easier for private companies to tap into the field of mega projects.

According to Sunday's schedule of debate, the House will also discuss an agreement between Egypt and France on the implementation of a number of top priority projects in Egypt.

On Monday, the House will discuss a draft law aimed at allowing the Egypt Air Holding Company to take loans from banks under guarantees from Minister of Finance.

The agenda on Monday will also include debating an agreement between Egypt and Canada on implementing the project of supporting women to be business pioneers.

MPs will also discuss an agreement between Egypt and the Women Development Organisation which is related to the Islamic Cooperation Organisation.

Minister of Education Tarek Shawki is expected to come to parliament this week to answer questions on the new school year.

A number of MPs such as Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, deputy chairman of the Human Rights Committee, have criticised Shawki for instructing the ministry not to give books to students unless they pay school fees first. Abdel-Aziz said Shawki's orders violate article 19 of the constitution, which state that education is free for all citizens.

Other MPs such as Hanaa Farouk, a member of the parliamentary majority party of Mostaqbal Watan, also complained that the ministry of education has upped school fees too much and beyond the financial capacity of low and average-income families. 

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