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Anger in Egypt as government demands citizens register homes or lose electricity

March 2, 2021 at 11:20 am

Aerial view of homes in Cairo, Egypt on 1 March 2019 [Moody Man/Flickr]

Anger is growing in Egypt over amendments to a real estate law that stipulates property owners must register their property and those that don’t will not have access to gas, drinking water and electricity.

According to a report published by Middle East Eye, only five per cent of properties in Egypt are registered on official records.

Those that want to register their houses will have to pay three per cent of the value of their property which is unaffordable for most home owners.

Taking to social media under the Arabic hashtag “We will not register our properties” citizens have expressed anger at both the cost of registering and the lengthy process they would have to undergo to do it.

The deadline for enforcing the law has been moved to December from the original 6 March date in response to resistance from the public.

Egypt is undergoing a severe economic crisis due to austerity measures being rolled out by the government and ordinary Egyptians are struggling to deal with soaring living costs which have made the country uninhabitable.

One third of Egyptians live below the poverty line.

READ: Egypt faces health crisis due to sharp decline in number of doctors

The coronavirus pandemic and measures taken to stem its spread have compounded this crisis with many losing their jobs particularly in the tourist, service and industrial sectors.

Egyptians have questioned what the $2.8 billion loan from the IMF, given specifically to confront the negative effects of COVID-19, has been spent on and why the government is using different strategies to take money from them.

Last year there was widespread anger after Egyptian authorities began demolishing houses and arresting owners under the pretext they built their homes without planning permission.

Residents complained that the demolitions were a way to collect money rather than enforce the law because the government was asking them to pay a down payment for reconciliation on the grounds that their houses were built “illegally”.

If they paid the settlement fee, the government said, their houses would not be demolished.