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* Several incentive schemes are being offered by the government to assist local and foreign investors.
* In the field of land allocation for investment purposes:
Project contracts are exempt from stamp duties and fees for five years from the date of registry in the commercial register.
Free land allocation is provided in Upper Egypt.
A 20 per cent tax rate is offered on industrial projects.
0-5 per cent customs duties on imported machinery.
* In the field of Free Zones:
Corporate income tax exemption.
Low infrastructure cost.
No customs duty (except for sales into Egypt) and no sales tax.
Only one per cent annual duty on the value added of the project.
* In the field of Special Economic Zones (SEZ):
The tax rate on all activities within these zones is 10 per cent.
The first zone created under the new law is the North West Suez Special Economic Zone where fertilisers, iron and steel, pharmaceuticals, building materials and petrochemicals companies have already started production.
Two logistics facilities which serve the newly created SEZs have been established. These are the Red Sea port of Ain Al-Sokhna and Port Said on the east Mediterranean coast.
* Strides have been undertaken to simplify procedures. These include:
- A One-Stop-Shop established at the General Authority for Investment Promotion and Free Zones (GAFI) in 2004, followed by another one in Alexandria. The One-Stop-Shop will soon open in three other governorates, namely, Assiut, Giza and Ismailiya.
The reduction of some administrative start up and operational barriers includes:
Company registration within 72 hours (it was formerly three months).
Automation of commercial registry.
Establishing the Model Customs and Tax Centre (MCTC) in 2005: This is a modern tax administration centre which conducts the work of three departments, namely customs, sales and income tax.
The Labour Law was also amended in 2005 to address firing procedures and reinforce dispute settlement measures.
The drafting of a unified construction law has also helped simplify procedures and improve control over the issuance of construction licenses.
- Some radical institutional reform has been introduced to the General Authority for Free Zones and Investment (GAFI) which is the primary governmental authority concerned with regulating and facilitating investment in the country. GAFI's role has been broadened from being a regulatory body into a proactive investment promotion agency.
The agency since then has been successful in building interactive relations with the different bodies concerned with investment in the country. It has also developed a policy advocacy function to assist in formulating policies to play an active role in the removal of investment barriers.