Egypt’s SME tax law to be finalised before year-end: minister

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Egypt’s Finance Minister Amr el-Garhy said Friday his ministry seeks to finalise the unified law for tax measures targeted at the small and medium-sized businesses to go into effect before the end of the current year.

According to the new law, the small and medium-sized enterprises will be taxed under a simplified system, a step aimed at encouraging those firms to operate in the formal economy, el-Garhy added on the sidelines of a global financial inclusion event in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are crucial drivers of economic activity in Egypt, however their role in the economic development of the country is limited despite the government’s increasing attention towards them.

In January 2016, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced the SME initiative, saying that Egypt’s banks would inject 200 billion Egyptian pounds into supporting businesses over the next four years. Accordingly, the country’s central bank issued guidelines on how it will incentivise banks to participate in a “comprehensive programme” to help finance SMEs in a bid to create jobs and support its battered economy.

The two-day 9th Global Policy Forum kicked off Thursday in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, organised by the International Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), with the participation of around 95 countries of the AFI’s members.