Decisive solutions generated by the Dispute Settlement Committee to settle 22 government disputes with investors will soon be forwarded to the cabinet for approval in its forthcoming meetings, said Minister of Justice Mahfouz Saber.
“The disputes pertain to investment projects that fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade, the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation as well as the governorates of New Valley, Daqahleya, Minya and Marsa Matruh,” said Saber during the bimonthly meeting with the Dispute Settlement Committee.
The committee has made decisions that “are only binding to government bodies, not investors,” said Hassan Fahmy, head of the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI). “So, the investor has the complete freedom to accept the committee’s decision or resort to the courts.”
Fahmy declined to reveal the names of investors that are slated to settle their disputes with government bodies, saying that the settlements have not yet been approved by the cabinet.
He further said that the government is working hard to settle all disputes outside of court rooms in order to avoid arbitration fees that would weigh heavily on the state’s coffers.
“The Economic Group has managed to solve dozens of disputes, saving the state EGP 10bn,” said Fahmy, adding that the GAFI would always take the side of serious investors and defend their rights.
According to Saber, seven disputes pertained to the Ministry of Finance. “The Tax Authority was at odds with some companies working in maritime and oil services, two cement firms, and engineering design and technical services companies over tax collection,” he added.
The committee has also drafted solutions for another dispute between the Tax Authority and one steel firm over tax collection as well, according to Mahfouz.
Nine disputes between investors and the governorates of New Valley, Daqahleya, Minya and Marsa Matruh over land lots are also to be settled, Mahfouz said.
“The committee is keen on settling all government disputes with investors,” the minister noted.