Egyptian Parliament Approves New Taxes Sparking Debate on Economic Crisis

New taxes approved by the Egyptian parliament, Monday, sparked a great debate about whether they are the best solution to alleviate the economic crisis afflicting the country.

On Monday, the Egyptian parliament finally approved a draft law submitted by the government providing for amending some provisions of the stamp tax law and the state’s financial resources development fee law, and a third law imposing a tax for entering theaters and other entertainment venues and nightclubs, according to the statement. Opportunity The official House of Representatives.

“These increases were imposed on entertainment goods that do not affect the broad segment of the simple people of Egypt,” Fakhry al-Fiqi, head of the Parliament’s Plan and Budget Committee, told Al-Hurra.

The amendments include imposing a development fee of 10 percent of the value of the customs invoice on commodities such as salmon, shrimp, lobster, blue cheese, fresh and imported fruits, roasted coffee and chocolate, food mixers, electric motor shavers, hair dryers and many other electrical thermal devices, and headphones. Earbuds, wristwatches, wheeled toys and other children’s toys, cigarette lighters, depending on local media.

The amendments also include collecting three percent of the value of each commodity purchased from duty-free shops, the price of which exceeds five dollars, with a minimum of one and a half dollars. Members of the foreign diplomatic and consular corps who are not honorary workers and are registered in the tables issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are exempted from this fee.

However, Alia Al-Mahdi, a professor of economics at Cairo University, believes in her interview with Al-Hurra that these goods will affect middle-income people, and criticized the imposition of new taxes on citizens “who are already living through a crisis and financial hardship.”

Al-Mahdi says, “Several taxes are already imposed on Egyptians, including the value added,” in addition to the fact that inflation has raised the prices of all materials, basically, by almost 30 percent. It works.”

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For his part, Al-Feki confirmed in his interview with Al-Hurra website that the aim of these amendments is to provide six billion pounds in order to support poor families in Egypt.

He explained that these amendments will contribute to increasing the number of families under social protection programs to 5.1 million families instead of 4.6 million families.

And he considered that “the increase of half a million new families means that approximately 2.5 million individuals will benefit, which costs the state six billion pounds. These funds will go to social protection programs such as the Takaful program, which includes support for women with breadwinners, and dignity for those with special needs. Instead of the special budget In this category, it was 25 billion pounds, it will become 31 billion pounds.”

However, Al-Mahdi believes that this amount, which the government is targeting, is “the nucleus that supports the minister,” according to her description, explaining that the state’s debts are about three trillion pounds. “What do you do with six billion pounds?”

She said, “The government could have saved 50 billion, not just five billion, if it deducted it from its expenses or if it reduced its investment spending on things that have no great benefit. For example, we see the restoration of the Alexandria Desert Road and Ain Sukhna Ismailia, although it was good and did not There was no reason for that.”

She pointed out that imposing additional fees on those leaving Egypt or on tourists would increase tension and discourage tourists from coming to Egypt.

The amendments provide for an increase in the fees for leaving Egypt to one hundred pounds instead of fifty pounds, while the fees for foreigners coming for the purpose of tourism only to the governorates (the Red Sea, South Sinai, Luxor, Aswan, Matrouh) are 50 pounds.

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Representative Mohamed Badrawi, a member of the Parliament’s Plan and Budget Committee, confirmed that he was among the deputies who objected to the draft amendment to the law to increase resource development fees, which Parliament approved on Monday.

Badrawi said in televised statements: “The talk about bridging the budget deficit through the increase that was approved in the Development Fee Law is incorrect,” adding that “the proceeds of the increase do not exceed 5 billion pounds, while the budget deficit amounts to more than 500 billion pounds.” “.

He added, “People are annoyed today because after the prices of all basic, durable and strategic commodities such as sugar, oil, gasoline, diesel and even electricity have increased significantly, the rest of the commodities and services are now added to them, which will affect everyone, meaning if the price of a high-priced commodity increases, the price of similar commodities will increase.” Low cost.”

On the other hand, Al-Fiqi defends the amendments by stating that the goods included in the state resource development fees are all imported.

He said, “There are two benefits. On the one hand, we will save the dollar, and on the other hand, we did not prevent it, as those who want it among the wealthy will find it available, but its price will increase by 10 percent as a fee for the development of the state’s resources. This is a contribution from the able-bodied citizen to programs of solidarity and dignity, and treatment at the expense of the state.”

The Secretary of the Parliament’s Plan and Budget Committee, Abdel Moneim Imam, announced on his Twitter account his rejection of the government’s stamp tax law.

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“As the head of the Justice Party, we refuse to finance government spending from the pockets of taxpaying citizens in this way,” he said.

According to the “Cairo 24” website, during the discussion of the amendments in the plenary session, on Sunday, an imam criticized the Ministry of Finance, saying: “I am calling for changing the slogan of the tax authority, from your interest first to your pocket first,” noting that he has data from 15 tourism companies, objecting on this law.

Imam said, “We all know what the citizen suffers in his life, and we are exposed to a large amount of pressure, but the government returns to us with a law after it was rejected a year ago, and amends 18 articles, which is evidence that it was wrong.”

Al-Fiqi points out that the amendments to the laws “did not affect salaries, pensions, a loaf of bread, and ration commodities. These are issues that we did not touch in the budget, despite the high prices that global crises have badly affected the Egyptian economy.”

Al-Mahdi replies, “The government attributes the economic crisis to a global crisis, but in fact, inflation is the cause, and citizens are certainly not the ones who caused the inflation. Rather, the government is the reason for its exaggerated spending on useless projects, while this spending was not matched by an increase in production.” or foreign exchange reserves in proportion.

She said, “I do not see that these new taxes will solve any economic crisis, it will only increase the state of tension in the Egyptian street.”

2023-05-29 22:27:15
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