By: Ibrahim Al-Masri
Sayed Aref, a member of the Salafi Al-Nour Party, recently announced that the party would be boycotting recent amendments being made to the country’s tax law, in opposition to what he referred to as “the government withholding details regarding the country’s pending International Monetary Fund (IMF) $4.8bn loan, in addition to details regarding an upcoming tax legislation reform package”.
“We are withdrawing from discussions with the government, which claims that it is working to protect Egyptians, despite the fact that the new law will increase the burden on our citizens,” he added. “We are in a very critical stage in our country’s history, as we are still in the midst of working out the details regarding Egypt’s pending IMF loan, however despite this the government has sought to withhold information regarding the loan from the public.”
“The government has so far not made public the details of its reform package, particularly those relating to subsidies, and for this reason we are boycotting the passage of the law’s amendments,” Aref said. He went on to criticise the government for not presenting the details of its budget plan before April. Ahmed Fahmi, president of the Shura Council, stated that “the country’s budget recently came before the Shura Council; however we must still consult with Egypt’s Finance Minister and Prime Minister Hesham Qandil”. A government representative responded: “We are not hiding anything with regards to the IMF loan, and have so far made all the details public.”
Sources within the Shura Council’s Financial and Economic Committee stated that the budget would soon be brought in front of the government again, but refused to discuss details of the process, for what they described as “procedural reasons”.
The budget was brought before the Shura Council several weeks ago but has not yet been shown to its Council members.