Egypt’s Prime Minister has promulgated executive regulations for the National Press Authority Law, Egypt Law No. 179/2018. These regulations revoke the second part of the executive regulation of the Institutional Press and Information Regulation, Egypt Law No. 92/2016, and repeal anything which contravenes them. As a result of these developments, the National Press Authority will administer national press institutions, create a comprehensive inventory of all the press and national institutions, and establish a mechanism for monitoring and evaluating economic and other performance indicators for the national press. This Authority will also have a role in dispute settlement, training, pricing, and licensing of new media outlets.
The Chairman of Egypt’s Consumer Protection Authority has announced the Implementing Regulations to the country’s Consumer Protection Law have been published. The Implementing Regulations to Egypt Law No. 181/2018 are contained in Egypt Regulation No. 822/2019. The Regulations emphasise the importance of informing consumers about all basic data on products, which is the consumer’s right to know before purchasing. It covers obligatory provisions by sellers or service providers of an invoice. They also cover the rights of consumers to recover or replace products within 14 days and within 30 days in the event of a product defect.
Egypt’s President has issued a Decree amending the Law regulating the activities of the gas market, promulgated by Egypt Law No. 196/2017. The Decree revokes Article 10(6) of Egypt Law No. 196/2017. It had said the Board of Directors of the Gas Regulatory Authority will adopt a system for monitoring and determining the performance criteria of licensees with respect to gas market activities. The Decree has been published in the Official Gazette.
Weekly Spotlight: The New DIFC Employment Law Introducing Extensive Changes to the Current Law Expected to be Enacted Shortly
A new employment law for the DIFC is expected to be enacted shortly, following a consultation in early 2018 and subsequent amendments made during the course of last year. The DIFC is a financial free zone in Dubai, UAE and is home to many leading financial institutions, law firms and other professional services companies. The DIFC is an independent legal system with its own laws and courts. The current employment law for DIFC companies is DIFC Law No. 4/2005, as amended by DIFC Law No. 3/2012 (DIFC Employment Law) which will be replaced in its entirety by the new law once it is enacted.
The proposed new law introduces quite extensive changes to the DIFC Employment Law. For many of the changes, the intention is to strike a fairer balance between the respective rights of employers and employees than under the current DIFC Employment Law, for example in relation to employee leave entitlements and termination benefits. Other changes are reflective of recent developments and trends in working practices, for example part-time employment and secondment arrangements which are not expressly provided for under the DIFC Employment Law. Certain changes are intended to rectify unintended consequences of the current wording of the DIFC Employment Law, whereas others are being introduced from a compliance and enforcement perspective, including the right for the DIFC Authority to inspect DIFC companies’ premises and records and to impose monetary fines (up to $10,000) for non-compliance.
One of the most important developments is the proposed expansion of the anti-discrimination provisions of the DIFC Employment Law. In particular, under the proposed new law there will be additional protected characteristics and the introduction of various remedies including court declarations, recommendations and most importantly, significant monetary compensation for an employee who has suffered unlawful discrimination. In light of the extensive changes under the proposed new law, DIFC employers should prepare to have their employment contract templates and HR policies reviewed and updated to ensure compliance with the new law. Consideration must also be given to how existing employees’ contracts and benefits will be dealt with in light of the new developments. More broadly, DIFC employers will need to carefully review their policies, procedures and general approach when dealing with HR and employment matters generally (from recruitment and hiring through to the termination of employment) to ensure the company’s legal risks are appropriately managed, particularly in light of the increased scope (and repercussions) for employee discrimination claims under the new law.
The Chairperson of Egypt’s Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development Agency has announced the Cabinet is finalising the draft SME law. Once they have approved the draft law, it will be submitted to the House of Representatives to consider. It is expected to be submitted within ten days and amongst other things will allow these entities to obtain financing which is not allowed under the existing Egypt Law No. 141/2004.
Egypt’s President has issued Egypt Law No. 175/2018 on cybercrimes which will recognise electronic evidence in trials. It has been published in the Official Gazette. The law criminalises the improper use of data, information and information systems and attacks on emails, accounts, websites, networks, state information systems. It applies to import, export or circulation of any designed, developed or modified equipment, tools, software, codes or similar data without the authorisation of the National Telecom Regulatory Authority. Relevant crimes include creating websites, special and email accounts, falsifying private or legal persons and abuses of privacy, whether by sending spam or transferring personal data without consent, whether true or falsified, or publishing pictures or the like.
Egypt’s Finance Minister has announced a draft public finances law and a law on taxing advertising on social media sites are under considerations. The proposed legislative developments are part of a wider initiative, including amendments to the country’s 2005 Income Tax Law, Egypt Law No. 91/2005. The draft social media law will impose taxes on adverts displayed on social media. The Minister mentioned Facebook specifically as a platform where adverts can be placed without sufficient control. He also said the Government will send a draft customs law to the House of Representatives in the coming weeks to consider.
Egypt’s Housing Ministry has announced criteria for granting residency to foreigners who purchase residential units under construction are being considered. The Ministry said residency will be granted to owners of units who purchase them in US Dollars, provided the minimum payment for a unit is 40% of its price or at least $100,000 and the period of construction of the property does not exceed four years. The Ministry added the passport department is responsible for determining the length of stay, according to the transfer amount. The Ministry added that in terms of constructed residential units, residence will be granted in line with the law and an Interior Ministry Decision to this effect.
Egypt’s Parliamentary Budget Committee has approved the amendments to the 2008 Real Estate Tax Law. The Committee approved the proposal to extend the real estate revaluation period from August 2018 to August 2021, instead of the Government’s proposal to extend it 2020 only. It is understood the Government will submit a new draft real estate taxes law before 31 December, which will include significant amendments. The Finance Ministry has agreed to make changes to prepare for implementing the real estate tax law in the coming days.
This week the spotlight is on legal developments in Egypt, where Egyptian parliamentary health committee member Inas Abdel Halim MP has said that she will submit a bill at the start of the next parliamentary session in October amending the Child Law, Egypt No. 12/1996 in order to criminalize and tighten penalties for parental negligent. The basis of the proposed change is to amend Article 8 of Egypt Law No. 12/1996, which allows the punishment of a father or mother in such cases with six months imprisonment and a fine of 500 Egyptian Pounds. The proposed changes would increase the punishment of parents to imprisonment of at least 10 years if the negligence led to the death of the child. A parent found to have killed their child would face life imprisonment. The committee will invite comments from civil society organisations who work in this area.