El Maghrabi: legislation amendments will solve 85 percent of investor problems
CAIRO: A final draft of the new unified construction law is now being prepared for presentation to the People s Assembly within the next two months, Minister of Housing and Population (MHP) Ahmed El Maghrabi said Wednesday.
The long-awaited legislation, expected to cut down on burdensome procedures required for building construction, will solve 85 percent of problems facing investors, El Maghrabi added. MHP is yet to releasedetails of its amendments to the old law, but has hinted reforms will fall inline with measures already taken by other ministries to reduce time and money required to obtain registration, building permits and clearances, and utilities.
Speaking at a mortgage finance seminar Wednesday night, Minister of Investment (MOI) Mahmoud Moheiddin said the new law will focus on reducing the number of government offices investors must deal with to earn legal standing for their properties and speeding up land acquisition procedures for the purposes of investment.
The current construction law requires the approval of about 20 government offices, some of which are only located in Cairo, including agricultural, archaeological, environmental, military and civil defense authorities.
According to the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), a MOI-affiliate, business registration and licensing procedures, including property registration and acquisition of building permits, used to require an average of 277 days and six steps for completion.
In 2006, IDA Chairman Amr Asal says the organization lowered the numbers to 135 days and four steps and is now working toward 45 days and three steps.
The new construction law is expected to mark the second major reform in the construction sector to be implemented by the government in 2007. In January, MOI and the Ministry of Finance (MOF) finalized Anew law lowering property taxes from 46 percent to 10 percent of the rental value of a property for presentation to the People s Assembly for ratification in Q1 2007.
The property tax law proposes a flat annual tax on all properties including the registered and unregistered limited-income housing communities. It does not, however, eliminate partial exemptions currently applicable to limited-income housing and all units with a rental value of less than LE 150 per month. More than 80 percent of properties in Egypt are unregistered, according to MOF figures.