Back Matter

Back Matter

Howard Handy
Published Date:
May 1998
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    Appendix I Tax Summary

    Appendix I provides a summary of the tax system as of July 1, 1997. The tables start with a description of taxes levied by the central government followed by taxes levied by local governments.

    Each tax is described in terms of the relevant legislative act, the definition of the tax base, the main exemptions and deductions that are applicable and the tax rates.

    Tax Summary as of July 1, 1997
    TaxBaseExemptions and DeductionsRates
    • A. Central Government

    • 1. Taxes on income and profits

    • 1.1 Taxes on corporations

    • Law No. 157/1981 amended by Law No. 187/1993.

    • An annual tax on accrued net taxable profits earned in Egypt by both foreign and domestic corporations (including limited partnerships, joint stock companies, and public sector enterprises) engaged in manufacturing, commerce, banking, mining, real estate brokerage, commercial leasing activities, and so forth. Tax year is calendar year unless stated otherwise in company’s articles.

    • Taxable profits include:

    • realized nonreinvested capital gains; and

    • ten percent of income from moveable capital (for joint stock companies, dividends received from Egyptian investment joint stock companies are exempt).

    • Forms of corporate business include:

    • joint stock company

    • limited liability company

    • partnerships limited by shares

    • They are governed by Companies’ Law No. 159/1981.

    • Deductions allowed cover all business expenses, including actual rent or estimated rental value of premises, wage and bonuses to be statutorily granted to workers, social security contributions on their behalf, savings fund and pension fund contributions (up to 20 percent of the wage bill), inventory costs, interest, royalties, remunerations to Board of Directors and allowances to major shareholders to attend general meetings, subscriptions to governments, contributions to charitable and social institutions (up to 7 percent of net profits), bad debt and loss reserves (up to 5 percent of net profits), and all other taxes paid.

    • Joint stock companies can deduct a portion of paid up equity equal to the interest rate declared by the Central Bank of Egypt.

    • Depreciation allowances are granted on depreciable assets mainly using the straight fine method at varying rates (the following act only as guidelines): buildings–2 percent, furniture–6 percent, hotel furniture–12.5 percent, and machinery–10 percent In addition, there is a depreciation allowance of 25 percent of the cost of new machinery and equipment in the first year.

    • In addition to the above deductions and allowances, executive regulations allow gifts and donations (up to 7 percent of chargeable profits) in lieu of entertainment expenses and other public relations expenses.

    • Losses are allowed to be carried forward for five years; losses from one source are not allowed to be offset against profits from another source.

    • There is no adjustment for inflation.

    • Exemptions

    • (1) Law No. 59/1979 provides a 10-year tax holiday in New Urban Communities (NUCs).

    • (2) Law No. 230/1989 provides an indefinite tax holiday for direct taxes (on corporate profits and dividends at the individual level) for investment in free zones (seven are currently operating; two more will be coming on stream shortly). For investments outside free zones, projects must fall under specific, though broad, categories, such as industry and tourism sectors. All qualified investments receive 5 to IS years holiday for corporate tax and individual income tax On dividends. All imported machinery and equipment is then subject to a 5 percent customs duty.

    • (3) Law No. 187/1993 provides a 5-year corporate income tax holiday for industrial corporations employing SO or more workers (dividends at the individual level are exempt from the tax on moveable capital).

    • Profits above LE 18,000 a year (subject co the above deductions, exemptions, and so forth) are taxed as follows:

    • Industrial and export profits 32 percent

    • Profits from oil exploration production 40.55 percent

    • Other profits 40 percent

    • In addition, a development duty of 2 percent is applied to all profits above LE 18,000 annually.

    • There are no withholding taxes on dividend distributions.

    • Corporations are required to withhold:

    • (1) Interest: 32 percent on the amount paid plus 2 percent development tax on interest in excess of LE 18,000 a year;

    • (2) Royalty payments:

    • 32 percent on the amount paid if a company carries on activity in Egypt.

    • If the company does not practice any activity in Egypt, the gross amount of the royalty payments is subject to 32 percent withholding tax plus 2 percent development duty when the payment exceeds LE 18,000 annually.

    • (3) Dividend:

    • If a company does not carry on an activity in Egypt, dividend distribution shall be subject to 32 percent withholding tax plus 2 percent development duty when the amount exceeds LE 18,000 annually.

    • There are no withholding taxes on dividend distributions if the company paying the dividends carries on the activity in Egypt and is subject to corporate income tax.

    • 1.2 Taxes on individuals

    • Individual taxes are based on the “Global Income Tax Law,” No. 187/1993. However, the law distinguishes five categories of income: immovable property income, commercial and industrial activities income, noncommercial/liberal professional income, moveable capital income, and salaries and wage income. The first three are calculated according to a graduated rate schedule. Salaries and wages are taxed according to a separate graduated rate schedule. Income from moveable (financial) capital is taxed separately as described below. The tax on Egyptians is Law No. 208/1994. Declarations must be sent to die tax directorate before April 1; wages and salaries tax is deducted at source. Law No. 208/1994 imposes a tax on income derived by Egyptians performing employee services abroad.

    • Unified tax is levied on five categories of income:

    • (1) Tax on wages and salaries

    • The base is labor compensation in the form of salaries, wages, allowances, gratuities, and benefits in kind.

    • (1) Tax on wages and salaries

    • Employment-related pensions are exempt as are wages of a daily worker provided the employment is not permanent and the worker has no other source of income. Annuities paid by insurance companies for policies with a period of (less than ten years are also exempt.

    • Allowances that do not in total exceed LE 4,000 a year are deductible from income. These include life insurance premiums, contributions to the Egyptian state social insurance and certain private insurance funds schemes, an occupational allowance, representation allowance, and production incentive bonuses. Personal allowances are LE 1,440 for single persons, and LE 1.680 for married couples without children or unmarried with children, and LE 1,920 for a married person supporting one or more children.

    • In addition, some other allowable deductions from the tax base include:

    • contributions to the Egyptian state social insurance;

    • life insurance premiums and certified private insurance funds scheme provided the total amount does not exceed 1 5 percent of total income or LE 1.000. whichever is less.

    • (1) Tax on wages and salaries

    • The tax rates on taxable incomes are:

    • Upto LE 50,000 20 percent

    • Over LE 50,000 30 percent

    • This tax is withheld at source, and incomes in excess of LE 16,000 are subject to an additional 2 percent development duty.

    • (2) “Unified” tax on income from commercial and industrial activities, professions, and real estate activities. The Egyptian firm subject to this tax includes sole partnerships, general partnerships, and simple limited partnerships.

    • For the tax on commercial and industrial activities income, the base is net profits, including capital gains, letting of commercial and furnished premises or plants, selling assets, building or dealing In real estate, exploitation of natural resources, poultry farms, animal husbandry, and land reclamations. Net profits also include 10 percent of moveable capital and real estate revenues.

    • The tax on noncommercial professions applies to income earned in Egypt or abroad.

    • The real estate wealth tax is applied to agricultural land revenues and building revenues. The revenues are based on the assessment used for property taxes under Law No. 56.

    • (2) “Unified” tax: Under the tax on commercial and industrial activities, the following deductions apply: rents of either owner-occupied or owned by the business; annual depreciation based on historical cost, net of initial allowances; direct taxes except those paid under this law; donations; actual and doubtful financial losses; social insurance payments: contributions for employees to special savings and pension funds (up to 20 percent of payroll); mobile capital revenue and taxes on agricultural land and real estate, with 10 percent of these revenues included in the base of the unified tax. Losses may be carried forward for five years. There are various exemptions, including profits from stock breeding and fishing and private insurance funds.

    • Under the real estate tax, a deduction of 20 percent is applied against “costs” (these are not defined by law but seem to imply rental payments). Losses may be carried forward for five years.

    • (2) “Unified” tax: The amount of tax owing on profits is calculated as follows:

    • Up to LE 2,500 20 percent

    • LE 2,501–7,000 27 percent

    • LE 7,001–16,000 35 percent

    • LE 16,001–27,000 40 percent

    • LE 27.001–68,000 45 percent

    • Over LE 68,000 48 percent

    • In addition, the development duty of 2 percent is applied to the unified income tax base above LE 18,000. Personal allowances are the same as those under the wage and salary tax.

    • (3) The tax on moveable capital is applied (at the source) on payments to both residents and nonresidents and includes interest payments (except for interest on savings accounts of banks supervised by the Central Bank of Egypt and debentures of public banks) and foreign dividends (net of foreign taxes).

    • (3) Besides interest on bank savings accounts, other exempt forms of income include proceeds of loans and credit facilities granted to the government and public agencies; proceeds due on balances of free foreign currency; proceeds of public issued debentures issued by joint stock companies that do not exceed the prescribed interest rate of the central bank: and cash or in-kind benefits related to lotteries done by insurance or savings companies.

    • (3) Income subject to the moveable capital tax is taxed at 32 percent For income above LE 18,000 annually, an additional 2 percent development duty is levied.

    • (4) Law 208/1994 established a tax on the earned income of nonresident Egyptians, except those who have emigrated permanently and who meet the requirements of Article (8) of Immigration Law No. 11 1/1983.

    • (4) Exemptions are social security payments: other savings payments deducted or in accordance with social security regulations of Egypt or the state where employed; family support; foreign taxes.

    • (4) The nonresident tax on annual earned income is:

    • Up to LE 20,000 1 percent

    • LE 20,00–40,000 2 percent

    • Over LE 40,000 3 percent

    • Law No. 208/1994 establishes a tax on the earned income of Egyptians performing employee services abroad.

    • 1.3 Other taxes on individuals

    • (1) Capital gains

    • Individuals are not subject to a tax on capital gains except for sales of real estate or building sites within the boundaries of Egyptian cities. Such gains are taxed at a rate of 5 percent of the value of the property, and gains are not subject to income tax.

    • None.

    • (2) Estate duty

    • Estate duty is payable at rates ranging from 5 percent to 15 percent. A number of exemptions apply.

    • (3) Inheritance tax

    • Inheritance tax was abolished in 1989.

    • 2. Social Security Contributions

    • Law No. 79/1975, as amended by Law No. 25/1977 and No. 47/1984.

    • Social security contributions are levied on both government employees and employees of publicly owned enterprises. Employee contributions are withheld at source. None of the revenues revert to the government but are retained by an off-budget pension fund. Revenue in excess of pension fund payments and operating costs are earmarked for public sector investment financing. Most private sector employees are covered by another fund.

    • Contribution by percent of payroll

    • On annual salary up to LE 3.600

    • Employer 26.0

    • Employee 14.0

    • LE 3,600–9,600

    • Employer 24.0

    • Employee 11.0

    • On tradesmen and other workers employed by a contractor for the duration of a contract or part thereof.

    • Employer 18.0

    • Employee 10.0

    • 3. Payroll Taxes

    • See Stamp duties.

    • 4. Real Estate Taxes

    • (1) Agricultural land tax: Decree Law No. 53/1935 and Law No. 113/1939.

    • Besides the provisions of the income tax that apply to agricultural land and buildings, real estate taxes are levied on the assessed annual rental value of agricultural land and property.

    • (1) For the agricultural tax, 20 percent of estimated rental value is deducted, and properties of less than 3 feddans are exempt.

    • (1) The basic rate for agricultural land is 14 percent.

    • (2) Buildings tax: Decree 56/1954 as amended by Laws No. 129/1961 and No. 136/1981

    • (2) For the buildings tax, a deduction of 20 percent of the annual rental value is allowed for maintenance and other expenditures. Exemptions include residential buildings built after 1981 that are not “luxury” most rural buildings; buildings with a rental value of less than LE 10 a year; buildings used by schools, hospitals, and religious institutions: and buildings specifically exempt under various laws.

    • (2) The rates for the buildings tax range from 10 to 40 percent depending on the number of rooms. Cairo and Alexandria are taxed 2 percentage points higher.

    • 5. Taxes on Goods and Services

    • 5.1 General Sales Tax

    • Law No. 11/1991, Decree No. 180/91. No. 295/93, No. 304/93, No. 39/94.

    • A sales tax applied at the manufacturing level on imported and domestically produced goods (with exceptions) and specified services. Services included are tourism, telecommunications, electricity, and professional brokers.

    • Firms with turnover of less than LE 54,000 are exempt Input credit can be obtained by registered firms for goods only, except for “Table 1” goods as listed under rates. Exports are zero-rated. Untaxed goods are exempt. Free zones are exempt if the items are sold abroad or to other free zones.

    • Exempt items (schedule A): Milk products; edible oils made from seeds, fixed, liquid, hard or refined; products of mills with the exception of excellent flours or imported yeasted flours; products and manufactures canned or prepared from meat; products and canned manufactured or prepared fish except caviar and smoked fish; vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds, spices, prepared or packed, fresh or frozen or preserved except imported; halawa. tahini; food prepared and sold by restaurants other than tourist restaurants; all kinds of controlled bread; natural gas and butane gas for retail; waste of food manufactures, food for animals, birds, or fish except dogs, cats, and ornamental fish; popular clothes distributed by the Ministry of Supply and Trade; pastry, paper, scrap, and ancient products made of paper or paperboard used only in the manufacture of paper; paper for journals, printing, and writing: books, circulars, and printing of similar nature from some papers; newspapers, magazines, and printed circulars; paper money and coins except memorial coins; and macaroni from flour.

    • The rates range from 5 to 25 percent with most goods subject to the standard 10 percent tax on gross sales.

    • (1) 5 percent

    • Services

    • Hotels, tourist services, and restaurants. Air conditioned transport between governorates.

    • Local telephone and telegraph services.

    • Goods

    • Coffee

    • All flour products except controlled bread.

    • Soap and manufactured household cleaners.

    • Fertilizers.

    • Purification materials and insecticides.

    • Gypsum.

    • Wood sawn lengthwise.

    • (2) 10 percent

    • Services

    • Telex and facsimile services.

    • Sound and light shows.

    • International communications.

    • Telephone installation and connection services.

    • Private car rental.

    • Express delivery services.

    • Cleaning and security services.

    • Real estate brokering.

    • Car dealerships.

    • Goods

    • All other goods not taxed at other rates or exempt

    • (3) 25 percent

    • Color television sets.

    • Refrigerators.

    • Deep freezers of 10 cubic feet or more.

    • Sound recorders or reproducers.

    • Air conditioners.

    • Cameras and their parts.

    • Perfumes, cosmetics, preparations for the care of skin and hair.

    • Chandeliers and their parts.

    • Video tapes.

    • Personal motor vehicles between 1600 and 2000 cc, passenger, cargo, cars, and jeeps.

    • “Table 1” Goods:

    • Item GST rate (percent)

    • Tea (basic) 6.71

    • Sugar 4.31

    • Mineral water, soft drinks, and juices

    • Imported 32.5

    • Domestic

    • Less than 250 cm 50.0

    • Above 250 cm 60.0

    • Beer

    • Alcoholic 100.0

    • Non-alcoholic 60.0

    • Tobacco

    • Unprocessed

    • For water pipes 100.0

    • Others 75.0

    • Processed

    • Cigar and pipe 200.0

    • Cigarettes (domestic)

    • Less than piastres 65 14141

    • More than piastres 65 60.51

    • Others 50.0

    • Petroleum products

    • Gas 25.41

    • White spirits

    • Kerosene 3.41

    • Solar

    • Diesel oil

    • Fuel oil 0.51

    • Lubricating oil 0.51

    • Lubricating preparations 0.31

    • Pure ethyl alcohol 375.01

    • Processed alcohol for fuel 17.71

    • Alcoholic beverages 100.0

    • Medicines (except exempt by decree)

    • Imported 1.6

    • Domestic 5.0

    • Equipment for handicapped exempt

    • Vegetable oil (nonrationed)

    • Imported 0.81

    • Domestic 1.41

    • Hydrogenated animal or vegetable fat/oil 1.71

    • Hydraulic cement 2.11

    • 5.2 Excises

    • Development duty

    • Law No. 147/1984 amended by Law No. 5/1986 and by Law No. 520/1994. See Development duty under income taxation.

    • Levy of taxes on selected goods and services.

    • Selected items

    • 25 percent on price of tickets issued in local currency for foreign travel.

    • 20–40 percent on cost of parties and receptions held in hotels and public halls.

    • 5 percent of auction price for auction sales.

    • LE 1 per item if price exceeds LE 15 bought at duty-free shops.

    • Passport fees at specific rates.

    • 5.3 Selective issues on services See Stamp duties.

    • See stamp duties

    • B. Local Government

    • 1. Taxes on Income and Profits

    • None

    • 2. Social Security Contributions

    • None

    • 3. Payroll Taxes

    • None

    • 4. Taxes on Property

    • Local authority duty. Legal reference not available.

    • A local tax is levied on the same basis as See agricultural land and buildings tax in the agricultural land tax and the buildings central government, tax. The proceeds from this tax are earmarked for the individual governorate.

    • See agricultural land and buildings tax in central government.

    • See agricultural land and buildings tax in central government.

    • 5. Taxes on Goods and Services

    • 5.1 Selective tax on services

    • (1) Hotel tax

    • Legal reference not available.

    • A tax is charged on the total value of amounts charged to a hotel account

    • None.

    • Tax is levied at 2 percent of the total hotel bill in Cairo. Rates vary from one governorate to another

    • (2) Motor vehicle tax

    • No details available.

    • 6. Taxes on International Trade

    • 6.1 Import duties

    • Customs Law No. 66/1963, as amended. Decree No. 351/1986; Law No. 186/1986; Law No. 187/1986: No. 304/1989; No. 305/1989; No. 178/1991; No. 294/1993; No. 38/1994.

    • Customs tariff consists of a single column based on the Brussels Tariff Nomenclature. Ad valorem duties are applied to a fair market c.i.f. import price. The valuation of imports for assessing customs duties is based on the free market foreign exchange rate as stated by the central bank.

    • Exemptions from customs duties include:

    • (1) imports by the Ministry of Defense, the companies, units, and organizations subject to the Ministry of Military Production; by the National Security Authority of special devices, necessary for its activity; by the Republic Presidency of articles for formal use; and by the Ministry of Interior;

    • (2) gifts and donations to the government;

    • (3) personal effects belonging to passengers;

    • (4) imports by the establishments authorized to be in free zones (except motor cars and furniture);

    • (5) articles and small riding motor cars equipped with special medical equipment;

    • (6) personal effects for members of the diplomatic corps, and imports by embassies;

    • (7) articles that are exempt by a decree of the President of the Republic.

    • Goods in transit and goods that enter specified free zones are exempt from import duties and excises. Duties may be refunded on imports that are embodied in exports if the reexportation takes place within one year after the duties were paid.

    • Under the program of investment incentives for approved undertakings, customs duties may be excused for specific periods, but a minimum unified rate of 5 percent is collected on all exempt imports.

    • The assembly industries may request permission that their assembled products be treated according to the following provisions:

    • (1) The completely knocked-down parts, imported by the factories to be assembled, under supervision of the customs administration are subject to the import duty rate imposed on the final product, less 20 percent

    • (2) In case locally manufactured parts are used, the imported parts are subject to the duty rates applicable to the finished product, after being reduced according to the following proportions (with a maximum limit of 75 percent) or the established import duty on the imported parts, whichever is lower:

    • All duties, with the exception of those levied on tobacco, are ad valorem.

    • Rates mainly vary between 5 percent and 70 percent. The rate of 1 percent is levied on 33 items of foodstuffs. Rates of 5 and 10 percent are levied on most other foodstuffs. Duties for many industrial supplies range from 5 percent to 20 percent. Eighteen categories of machinery and durable goods are subject to 10 percent tariff, the rest between 30 percent and 70 percent. Duties on consumer goods are generally higher: 40 percent to 70 percent, for example, color television sets, 70 percent, refrigerators, 50 percent to 70 percent.

    • Exceptions include alcoholic beverages, taxed at 600–3.000 percent (300 percent at tourist facilities), and passenger vehicles taxed at 135–160 percent.

    • Specific duties in the range of LE 6.1–9.0 per kilogram are levied on tobacco products.

    • Proportion of the locally manufactured parts to the parts entering in the finished product (in percent)

    • (In percent)

    • 20

    • 30

    • 40

    • 50

    • 60

    • over 65

    • Reduction in import duty

    • 25

    • 30

    • 40

    • 50

    • 60

    • 75

    • 6.2 Export duties

    • Customs Law No. 66/1963, as amended, and Decree No. 351/1986.

    • Specific or ad valorem duties are levied on the export of a small number of commodities: raw hides and skins, molasses, metal waste and scrap, and antiques over 100 years old.

    • None

    • Illustrative export duties are LE 11 per metric ton of metal waste and scrap, LE 0.6 per 100 kilograms of molasses, and LE 1.2 per metric ton of raw hide. Antiques, 5 percent of their value.

    • 7. Other Taxes

    • 7.1 Poll taxes

    • None

    • 7.2 Stamp duty

    • Law No. 111/1980; Law No. 95/1986; Law No. 104/1987; Uw 224/1989.

    • Stamp duties are levied on a wide range of documents including deeds, applications, contracts, permits, registration, insurance premiums, checks, invoices, lotteries, education degrees, stocks, promissory notes, bearer notes of guarantee, publicity and advertisements, judicial papers, passenger tickets, water, electricity, gas. telephone, and salaries of government and public sector companies. Bank credits are also subject to annual stamp tax equal to 1 percent. Stamp duties may be dimensional, specific, proportional, or graduated. The tax is collected by means of stamped paper, stamps, a control plate, or in cash.

    • Under the program of investment incentives for approved undertakings, the tax may be excused or reduced. Stamp duties are not changed on interactions between government departments.

    • There are many varied rates.

    • Selected rates

    • LE 50 for registration of a company in the commercial register.

    • LE 0.1 on bank checks and vouchers carrying a signature as a development duty plus 0.3 stamp duty.

    • 0.3 percent on bills of exchange, promissory notes and bearer notes as stamp duty plus 0.1 development duty.

    • LE 900 to 1.800 on the formation of a company. (Corporations: joint stock company, limited liability company of partnerships limited by shares governed by Law No. 159 of 1981)

    • LE 90 on the formation of partnerships.

    Ad valorem equivalent of specific rates.

    Ad valorem equivalent of specific rates.

    Appendix II Prudential Requirements for the Banking System

    This appendix provides a brief summary of the prudential regulations of the Central Bank of Egypt in respect of commercial banking procedures.

    Foreign currency exposure. In April 1991.the central bank required that all banks limit foreign currency liabilities as a ratio to foreign assets (and the inverse) to J 05 percent, while the net foreign currency position was limited to 15 percent of each bank’s capital. From January 1994, foreign currency exposure was limited to 10 percent of capital (in single currency terms) and 20 percent of capital (in gross aggregate terms).

    Capital adequacy ratio. In January 1991, the central bank established a capital adequacy ratio equivalent to 8 percent of risk-weighted assets, in accordance with the guidelines developed by the Basle Committee. In 1992. minimum capital requirements for Egyptian banks were increased to LE 100 million for authorized capital and LE 50 million for paid-up capital; branches of foreign banks were required to show a minimum capital base of not less than $15 million.

    Asset classification and provisioning. In May 1991. strengthened guidelines were issued governing loan classification and provisioning.58

    Reserve requirements. In December 1990, the reserve requirement ratio on Egyptian pound deposits was extended to all deposits (rather than deposits exceeding two years’ maturity). At the same time, the minimum reserve was reduced to 15 percent for domestic currency liabilities and 10 percent for foreign currency liabilities.

    Credit concentration. From May 1993, commercial banks’ credit to single customers (in the form of share holdings or direct lending) has been limited to 30 percent of capital (on the Basle definition). At the same time, the Banking Law requires that credit to a single customer should not exceed 25 percent of a bank’s paid-up capital and reserves. In September 1995, these regulations were extended to business

    and investment banks. A schedule for ensuring compliance with this limit by the end of December 1996 was in place by the end of December 1993. Banks are also required to limit share ownership in all companies to not more than issued capital and reserves.

    Liquidity ratio. In January 1991, the scope of the minimum liquidity ratio was widened, while the ratio was reduced from 30 percent to 20 percent. A new liquidity ratio of 25 percent was also initiated for foreign currency liabilities. The liquidity ratios were also extended to business and investment banks.

    Investment concentration abroad. From November 1992, all banks (other than branches of foreign banks) were required to limit investments with single foreign correspondents to not more than 10 percent of total investments abroad (or $3 million, whichever is higher). Moreover, total investments with foreign correspondents should not exceed 40 percent of capital (according to the Basle definition).

    Reporting and auditing arrangements. In 1991. the central bank introduced special audits for the four public banks. In 1997, banks were required to prepare and publish their financial statements according to international accounting standards.

    Intervention procedures. Under legislation approved in 1992, the central bank can require a bank facing financial difficulty to raise additional capital. It may also request banks not to distribute profits until the level of provisions becomes adequate. If a bank fails to meet the necessary capital requirements, the central bank may order that the bank be liquidated or merged with another bank.

    Deposit insurance. Egypt does not have a formal system of deposit insurance. In the past, the difficulties of individual banks have been met in an ad hoe manner by the central bank or government. For example, in 1991, a joint venture between Bank for Credit and Commerce International (BCCl) and a local partner experienced difficulties that prompted the central bank to request other banks to lend support in the form of an interest-free loan equivalent to 0.25 percent of their deposits. Subsequently, the joint venture merged with a public sector bank following the collapse of BCCI, supported by a loan from the central bank.


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    See Subramanian (1997), for a detailed discussion of the Egyptian stabilization experience.

    The size of the primary surplus was sufficient to reduce the debt stock in the absence of debt reduction.

    Details of methods used in constructing the database can be found in Bisat, El-Erian, and El-Gamal (forthcoming). Hansen and Nashashibi (1975) offer an exhaustive analysis of Egypt’ early economic performance.

    For a discussion of policies under the infitah, see Ikram (1980), and Handoussa (1990).

    The investment variable refers lo fixed capital formation (i.e.. excluding changes in stocks).

    About half of public investment is spent on infrastructure; around 15 percent on education and health and the remainder on housing and general public services. There is a break in public sector investment data after 1993 owing to the reclassification of public enterprise investment from public to private sector accounts. In the post-1993 years, official public sector investment includes only the general government and investment by public authorities. Those averaged about 5 percent a year. Estimates of public enterprise investment amount to about 5 percent of GDP.

    Net factor income from abroad is defined as the sum of workers’ remittances and net interest income.

    Public domeslic saving is defined as fiscal revenues minus current expenditures minus the government’s net interest from abroad.

    Appendix I presents a summary of the tax system.

    Also, no credit is allowed for the taxed inputs in the production of taxed services creating tax cascading. Credit for GST paid earlier in the production process is also not allowed for capital goods leading to discrimination against domestic capital goods industries, cascading, and a tax on exports.

    Excluding foreign-financed defense expenditure.

    Central Bank of Egypt income taxes and transfers are inherently difficult to project and are assumed to be constant in relation to GDP.

    Also, in October 1997. the Egyptian authorities adopted a simplified system of calculating depreciation of capital assets.

    Suez Canal Authority revenues fell from $1,959 billion in 1995 to $1,881 billion in 1996. The number of oil tankers was down by 8 percent, the total number of ships down by 3 percent, and tonnage down by 2 percent. The average transit dues per ship fell from $129,735 in 1995 to $127,690 in 1996. The most important revenue sources were (1) container ships; (2) bulk carriers; and (3) oil tankers, respectively. Transit dues relate to tonnage, type of vessel, transit time, and point of origin.

    The 200-mile SUMED pipeline has a capacity of about 2.5 million barrels a day and is a joint venture between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. An extension that would traverse the Red Sea from Ain Sukhna to the closest point on the Saudi coast near Sharm al Sheikh is under consideration.

    Royalties and development duties from the EGPC and SCA are also in this category, but they too are likely to be less than fully buoyant. Stamp taxes are levied on goods and services, including contracts, payments from government agencies, bank loans, documents, receipts, checks, certificates, bank accounts, salaries, and advertisements at rates between 0.8 percent and 20 percent.

    As expressed in Lhe Fisher identity MV = PQ, where M = money supply, V = velocity of money, P = price level, and Q = volume of transactions (real GDP).

    The Fisher identity is set in terms of levels, that is, MV - PQ. At levels of inflation up to about 30 percent, the relationship it = M* + V* - Q* holds approximately. When inflation is larger, a residual error item (e) accounting for cross products becomes significant.

    The model estimates the demand for nominal money balances with the price level (CPI) included as a dependent variable, rather than estimating demand for real money balances with the assumption of no money illusion.

    The available data for estimating Egypt’s money demand is limited and the results presented should therefore be interpreted with caution. Monetary aggregates are annual averages of monthly observations from the IMF’s International Financial Statistics (IFS) database. The time series for the consumer price index and real GDP are obtained from official sources. In the absence of a complete treasury bill or interbank market interest rate series for the whole sample period, an average of the three-month lending and borrowing rate was used to proxy for the domestic interest rate (Int). The offshore interest rate (Int*) was calculated as the three-month Eurodollar offer rate in London minus the actual depreciation of the Egyptian pound vis-Á-vis the U.S. dollar during the same period

    This test is based on a nonstandard F–distribution given in Pesaran and Pesaran (1996).

    For an overview of the costs and benefits of inflation see Fischer (1996), Marty and Thornton (1995), and Selody (1990).

    For an interesting discussion relating to the forthcoming European Central Bank, see Ramaswamy (1997).

    For a complete discussion of inflation targeting and its performance so far, see IMF (1996). In Egypt, major problems would hinder the adoption of a direct inflation target. Most important, the lack of a comprehensive and timely database of indicators on real sector activity would severely impair the inflation forecasting casting exercise. Additionally, the relatively small set of short-term instruments available to the central bank would leave limited flexibility to respond to adverse shocks, thus increasing the volatility of the monetary aggregates. Moreover, the robustness of the nominal demand for money function may suggest that money targeting is a more effective alternative.

    For additional discussion of the Egyptian experience, see Schadler, Carkovic, Bennett, and Kahn (1993).

    Sterilization of commercial bank reserves involved the sales of government treasury bills, the bulk of which (about 80 percent) was held by the commercial banks. Between 1990/91 and 1993/94, the increase in net international reserves (NIR) of the CBE was partially offset by a decline in net domestic assets (NDA) of the CBE, matched broadly by an increase in NDA of the banking system (excluding the CBE). If account is made of lost tax revenue (interest income is exempt from income taxation), the fiscal cost totaled about 10 percent of GDP between 1991/92 and 1995/96. A more comprehensive and accurate estimate of the fiscal costs of sterilization should take account of the higher interest (relative to the counterfactual of no sterilization) on all government debt engendered by sterilization.

    In the first half 1996/97, most of the increase in portfolio inflows was accounted for by foreign purchases of equities, made available during the privatization program. In particular, global depository receipt (GDR) issues served as an attractive instrument for drawing foreign capital, accounting for between 45 and 50 percent of the inflows into equities. In the second half, inflows into equities slowed down considerably.

    Moreover, and very important, this correction has occurred without any mishaps in the clearing and settlement system. Indeed, the average settlement period has been reduced substantially from over T + 25 days to about T + 4 - 5 days during the recent episode of capital inflows.

    Until the liberalization of the exchange system in February 1991, the transaction-volume-weighted average of the multiple exchange rates vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar is used to calculate the dollar exchange rate and underlies the calculations of the effective exchange rates in this paper.

    For a useful discussion of the definitions of overvaluation in the context of the behavior of the U.S. dollar in the first half of the 1980s, see Frankel (1993, Section VI).

    For a good review of the literature on this subject, see Williamson (1994).

    These are, TOT. GCN, KCON, TECH.0 WV, and DEBT.

    To make sure that the linear interpolation does not affect our estimation, we compared correlation matrices before and after the interpolation. We found no significant statistical difference.

    The F-statistic for testing the significance of lagged variables in an error correction formulation is 4.7941, well above the 99th percentile critical band. Under the null hypothesis of no cointegration, the F-distribution is nonstandard and the lest involves a critical band rather than a critical value; see Pesaran and Pesaran (1996). We can therefore reject the hypothesis of no long-run relation.

    This elimination also solves the problem of multicollinearity between the variables INV and TECH.

    We assumed that all fundamental variables could be cointegrated. In keeping with the Edwards’ model, we limited the maximum lag to one.

    Edwurds’ estimates for the speed of adjustment 9 are in the range 0.739–0.941. Elbadawi’ estimates are 0.67–0.78.

    This reduces our sample by 12 observations. The dummy variable for the Middle East conflict of 1990–91(MECON) is not smoothed for obvious reasons.

    For a summary of these initiatives as well as the benefits of debt relief in general, see IMF (1994).

    This overview draws on material in the World Bank Country Economic Memorandum, “Egypt: Issues in Sustaining Economic Growth” of March 1997, and data reported are from the World Bank databases, unless otherwise indicated.

    Based on household income, expenditure and consumption surveys carried out by the Egyptian authorities in 1995/96 and Cardiff (forthcoming).

    Female primary school enrollment is, however, higher than in Morocco and Pakistan.

    Adult illiteracy for women is 65 percent.

    See Cardiff (forthcoming).

    This section is based on AM and Adams, Jr.(1996).

    This mapping is not exact in a few cases, for example, the electricity distribution companies, which are part of the electricity sector in the national income accounts, fall under Law 203. Similarly, there are some Law 203 companies in the transport and communications sector and hotel sector that do not belong in the category of industry and mining in the national accounts.

    One implication of this partial assimilation of the economic authorities in the budget is that measured public saving could be incorrect insofar as the true financial position of the economic authorities is different from that reflected in the budget, where transfers to the economic authorities are identically equal to their investment. But if economic authorities are actually incurring losses, that is, dissaving, this would not he reflected in the budget. Another classification issue that needs to be borne in mind is that private investment in the national income accounts includes that undertaken by the public enterprise sector.

    Excluding the Export Development Bank of Egypt, which, although a joint-venture bank, is to remain majority owned by the public sector.

    At present, indicators of the Egyptian banking performance are fragmentary. This report is based on published financial statements for the public commercial banks; aggregate published data for the commercial banks; and data provided by the Egyptian authorities.

    The incidence of nonperforming loans is estimated to be the same for the public commercial banks as for the industry as a whole.

    Specifically, legislative efforts have been undertaken to discontinue the discriminatory treatment of foreign trading companies; governmental approval (and suspensions of letters of credit) for imports were abolished in 1993; investment-related controls on imports of equipment were abolished in 1993, as were import restrictions maintained by the Ministry of Military Production.

    For estimates of the global effects of the Round, see Francois and others (1995), Hertel and others (1996), and Goldin and van der Mensbrugghe (1995), These studies emphasize that countries that undertake the most meaningful liberalization and improve the supply capacity of their economies stand to gain the most from the Uruguay Round.

    The commitment to bindings led to effective reduction in about 10 percent of all tariff lines (excluding the textiles and clothing sector) for which tariffs in December 1995 were above the bound levels. For these lines, the average reduction was about 11 percent, with slightly larger tariff reductions in the industrial sector, yielding average price reductions in the domestic market of about 6 percent.

    It normally takes at least one year following signing for the European Parliament to ratify the agreement and make it effective.

    Loans were classified into substandard, doubtful, and loss categories, depending on whether interest payments were 3, 6, or 12 months late. Corresponding provisions were set at 20 percent, 50 percent, and 100 percent of the relevant loan amount.

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