The Egyptian government approved a draft bill that would settle over 6,000 tax dispute cases worth about EGP 47b ($5.29b), in addition to 150 civil disputes. The total value of uncollected tax arrears has reached EGP 70-80b, Reuters reported.
Daily News Egypt informs that the tax disputes file is under review in order to resolve the large number of cases currently in the court system. This will increase tax revenues, reassure the financiers and taxpayers, and reduce tax evasion. The Ministry of Finance is discussing the possibility of dropping part of the tax arrears and offering reconciliation for the owners if they are bankrupt and completely unable to repay.
The bill, which still has to go to parliament for approval before it becomes a law, allows tax disputes to be settled by committees headed by experts who do not work for the tax authority.
Egyptian Minister of Finance, Amr El-Garhy said that tax revenues currently represent only 13% of GDP, and are estimated to reach EGP 433b for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. The ministry aims to increase this ratio to 17%.
Cairo is in the midst of talks with the International Monetary Fund to secure a $12b three-year loan program, and restoring investment confidence is key to sealing a deal it hopes will plug its funding gap and restore market confidence hit by an acute shortage of foreign currency.