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Egypt finance minister denies plans to increase taxes

Portraits of Egyptian Pound notes and coins on 12 October 2016 in Cairo, Egypt. [David Degner/Getty Images]
Portraits of Egyptian Pound notes and coins on 12 October 2016 in Cairo, Egypt. [David Degner/Getty Images]

The Egyptian Minister of Finance, Mohamed Maait on Saturday denied plans to increase taxes, saying the government is keen on stabilising its tax policies in a way that contributes to attracting new investments and providing job opportunities.

"In light of the efforts made to expand the tax base, we aim to increase the tax rate to the domestic product by 2.5 per cent in five years from 14 to 16.5 per cent, with an annual growth of five per cent of the GDP, while maintaining the stability of tax policies," he said.

The minister said the tax administration system is witnessing historical reforms that lead to "broadening the tax base, laying foundations for tax justice, limiting the tax community more precisely, and integrating the informal economy into the formal economy".

He pointed out that the government has reduced the tax burdens on citizens, especially low- and middle-income citizens, and provided many tax facilitations to support financiers in facing the emerging coronavirus crisis.

"The new amendments to the income tax law contributes to laying the foundations of tax justice, improving tax rates and fixing the distortions caused by the previous system," he added.

The minister said his department is coordinating with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to build an integrated digital system to raise the efficiency of tax administration, taking advantage of "artificial intelligence" in modernising the tax administration system.

A third of Egyptians already live below the poverty line and earn less than $2 a day.

READ: Egypt's external debt hits $111.3bn

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