Updtae Egypt’s business digest July 20:Egypt’s central bank says not time to float pound, devaluation depends on timing; Egypt’s tender for a third FSRU draws interest from four firms
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Egypt’s tender for a third FSRU draws interest from four firms

(Reuters)- Egypt’s tender to lease a third floating and storage regasification unit (FSRU) has drawn interest from four international firms, an Egyptian official told Reuters on Wednesday.

Once a net energy exporter, Egypt began imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) last year and has leased two FSRUs already to help avert power shortages caused by falling energy production and rising consumption.

The firms that have expressed interest in the latest tender include Norway’s Hoegh, U.S. firm Excelerate Energy and Singapore-based Norwegian gas shipping company BW Gas , the ministry official said, declining to name the fourth firm.

Hoegh delivered Egypt’s first FSRU in April 2015 and BW Gas supplied the second in September.

“The door to present offers is open until the end of next week so offers can be decided on in the period between the end of August and the beginning of September,” the official said.

The tender by Egyptian state-run gas company EGAS is seeking an FSRU with a capacity of 750 million cubic feet per day, an official told Reuters on June 29.

Egypt’s gas shortfall has led to rationing among energy-intensive industries such as steel mills and fertiliser plants and caused some output disruption last year.
Egypt’s central bank says not time to float pound, devaluation depends on timing

(Reuters)- Egypt’s central bank governor said on Wednesday that the time was not right to float the Egyptian pound, which has come under intensifying pressure in recent weeks, but he left the door open to a possible devaluation.

Economists say a devaluation is all but inevitable. But the timing is crucial to maximise its impact while mitigating the inflationary effect, particularly as the government plans to introduce value-added tax this year and has yet to complete subsidy reforms.

“It is not possible to discuss the flotation of the pound now … but a devaluation depends on what the bank sees at the appropriate time,” Tarek Amer said in comments carried by the state news agency MENA.

Egypt devalued the pound by almost 14 percent in March, to about 8.78 to the dollar, in a bid to crush a black market that has burgeoned amid an acute shortage of foreign currency.
But the black market rate has since depreciated, putting renewed pressure on the central bank to take more action.
Communication ministry develops draft law to legalize status of app-based taxi service companies

The Communication and Information Technology Ministry is currently developing a new draft law to legalize the status of the app-based taxi service companies, sources at the ministry told Youm7 Wednesday.

Representatives from the communication, interior and justice ministries are currently forming a draft for the law, which will be presented to the House of Representatives for approval, said the source.

After approval, the app-based taxi service companies will be managed by the Egyptian National Telecom Regulatory Authority, he added.
In March, a ministerial committee was formed to investigate the legal status of Uber and Careem services, following series of protests staged by white taxi drivers in Egypt’s major cities.

EGX shows mixed performance at Wed. open
The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) opened on a mixed note in Wednesday’s early trading session, with the bench mark index EGX30 dropping 0.02 percent to record 1,352.3 points, Youm7 reported.
Meanwhile, the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) index EGX-70 edged up 0.28 percent to level up at 361 points, while the broader EGX100 index moved up by 0.15 percent to record 769.9 points.

Egypt central bank holds pound rate steady at weekly forex auction

(REUTERS): Egypt’s central bank kept the pound at 8.78 to the dollar at its weekly foreign exchange auction on Tuesday, data from the central bank showed.
The bank said it sold $119.4 million at its existing rate, confirming earlier comments from bankers.

90% of food commodities exempted from VAT: finmin

Egypt’s Finance Minister Amr al Garhy said that 90 percent of the food commodities will be exempted from the value-added tax (VAT), scheduled to be applied later this year after the parliament approval, Youm7 reported.
Al Garhy added that a total of 52 items and services will be exempted from the VAT, which will be introduced at a rate of 10%, as is the existing Sales Tax.

The exempted commodities include all basic foodstuff, all dairy products, , nutrition supplements for babies, natural gas, butane, electricity and mineral water.

Financial transactions such as leasing are among services to be exempted from the tax, he added.

Health ministry tenders 800K bottles of hepatitis c drug Sovaldi

Egypt’s Health Ministry on Wednesday has put forward a public tendered to provide 800,000 bottles of hepatitis C drug Sovaldi to liver treatment centers nationwide, Youm7 quoted a ministry source.
The ministry has also put up another tender to buy 500 bottles of the locally-made anti-hepatitis C Harvoni drug, said the source, adding that the ministry will begin distributing the cure by mid August.

Emirates NBD Egypt says will not suspend card use abroad

(Reuters): Emirates NBD Egypt said on Tuesday it would not suspend use of its credit and debit cards abroad, contradicting an earlier notice informing customers their cards would be disabled outside Egypt from July 24.

Egypt’s central bank last month asked banks to “ensure that debit cards, including pre-paid cards, issued in local currency by Egyptian banks are only used within the country” — a move aimed at combatting an acute foreign currency shortage that has hampered trade.

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