Egypt’s Investment One-stop Shop to start Operating in Two Weeks

Egypt’s anticipated one-stop-shop for investors to obtain licenses and permits will begin work in two weeks but be fully functional within 18 months, country’s minister of investment Ashraf Salman announced Monday.

The one stop shop, established by a new investment law to facilitate investment procedures, will begin with agricuture projects within two weeks and then gradually cater to other projects over the coming 18 months, Salman told reporters at an American Chamber of Commerce event in Cairo.

The aim is to empower GAFI to obtain permits and licenses on behalf of investors from Egypt’s notoriously investor-hostile governorates and other government bodies, not only for new projects, but for the expansion of existing projects, the minister said.

For technical approvals in areas such as pharmaceuticals and real estate, the plan is to complement GAFI by relying on private sector offices to provide certifications for such projects, said Salman.

The country is in dire need of foreign private investment after years of political turmoil dealt a hard blow to the economy, and to sources of foreign currency such as tourism and FDI, while foreign currency reserves more than halved since the 2011 uprising which toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The government aims to attract $8 billion in foreign direct investment by the end of this fiscal year, minister of planning Ashraf El-Araby said last month ahead of a major economic conference during which Egypt signed deals worth some $36 billion, notably with BP, Siemens, and General Electric.

A new civil service law was passed shortly before the conference to tackle bureaucratic inefficiency in a sprawling public administration which employs a 6.4 million Egyptians.

Source: Ahram Online