Business organisations and companies demanded the government reconsider some of the articles in the value-added tax (VAT) draft law, which is currently being discussed by parliament.
The parliament’s Plan and Budget Committee held a meeting with business organisations and private companies on Tuesday. The committee had sent 54 invitations to Pepsi, Toshiba, Etisalat, and other companies.
The Ministry of Finance is targeting to collect EGP 31bn through imposing the VAT, within the framework of targeting a budget deficit of 9.8% by the end of the current fiscal year.
Member of parliament Hesham Abdel Wahed said that the business organisations had asked to reconsider the value of the tax, the revenues upon which investors would be subject to the tax, and the total number of people targeted to be subject to that tax.
Head of the Tourism Investors Association in Sahl Hasheesh, Maged Fawzy, demanded that the tourism sector be treated the same as the export sector, especially given the conditions the sector had been enduring for the past five years.
“I am demanding zero taxes on the tourism sector,” said Fawzy, adding that imposing taxes on the sector at this point in time would add to the burden.
Egypt’s tourism industry has been suffering a decline in the inflow of tourists since the crash of the Russian aeroplane in Sinai in late October 2015, after which Moscow initially suspended all its flights to Egypt. Moreover, Britain had also suspended its flights to Sharm El-Sheikh.
MP Mona Gab-Allah said that the current time is not suitable for imposing the VAT on citizens, since that will negatively affect society. She added that the state should resort to other resources through which it can obtain revenues.
Deputy speaker of the Plan and Budget Committee, Yaser Omar, said that all the points addressed by the business organisations in the meeting will be carefully considered. He added that they will work on reaching a compromise about the law, to make sure it is issued in a way that represents the citizens without adding to their burden.