Why did the Egyptian government’s amendments to the conditions for granting citizenship raise controversy?.. Representatives answer

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) – The Egyptian government’s decision to ease the conditions for granting citizenship to foreign investors in exchange for buying real estate, investing in companies, or depositing amounts in dollars has sparked controversy about the return from the proceeds of the amendments to the Citizenship Law since its approval in 2019, as well as concerns about who will get them. Nationality.

Members of parliament ruled out that the new amendments to grant citizenship would achieve a huge dollar revenue in light of the obstacles to investment in Egypt, and they also confirmed that there is a committee that reviews the files of applicants before granting citizenship, and therefore there are no fears of granting them citizenship, especially since the Prime Minister can drop it to maintain security. national.

In August 2018, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi ratified amendments to the Laws on Entry and Residence of Foreigners in and Exit from Egypt, and the Granting of Egyptian Nationality. for at least 5 consecutive years.

A year later, Al-Sisi ratified new amendments by easing the conditions by granting the prime minister the authority to grant citizenship to every foreigner who bought real estate, established an investment project, or placed a deposit in foreign currency in the public treasury account, and formed a unit to examine submitted naturalization applications.

In the same year the new amendments were issued, the Council of Ministers approved the conditions for granting citizenship in return for purchasing real estate from the state for an amount of no less than $500,000, establishing or participating in an investment project for an amount of no less than $400,000, or depositing an amount of $750,000 in the Central Bank. As an interest-free deposit that will be refunded after 5 years in Egyptian pounds.

However, with the continuation of the dollar shortage crisis, these conditions were eased by reducing the purchase price of the property from $500,000 to $300,000, without the condition of transferring it from abroad, and reducing the value of participation in an investment project to $350,000 with a deposit of $100,000 as direct income. Refunds, as for the case of the direct deposit, the value of the deposit was reduced from 750,000 dollars to 500,000 dollars, and its duration was reduced from 5 years to 3 years, or a deposit of 250,000 dollars in favor of the public treasury is not refundable, and it can be paid in installments over one year.

Dr. Freddy Al-Bayadi, a member of the Defense and National Security Committee in the House of Representatives and Vice-Chairman of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, said that the government has facilitated the conditions for granting citizenship by reducing the amounts required for those wishing to obtain citizenship, whether to buy real estate, invest, or even a direct deposit, due to the lack of interest in benefiting from the amendments. The law, and then did not achieve its purpose in increasing the sources of the dollar.

The Egyptian Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly, has previously issued periodic decisions granting citizenship to a number of foreign investors in Egypt of Syrian and Iraqi nationalities, and the Assistant Minister of Housing, Walid Abbas, previously stated that 100 investors applied to buy a property to obtain citizenship.

Al-Bayadi expected, in exclusive statements to CNN in Arabic, that there will be no demand for applying for Egyptian nationality. Because the investment climate in Egypt is still not attractive, and therefore foreign investors will not apply to benefit from these amendments, and this mechanism will not be able to contribute to bridging the financing gap, which is estimated at approximately $30 billion, pointing to the need to provide an attractive climate for investment, offering many investment opportunities and providing A neutral competitive environment to achieve the objective of these amendments and to increase foreign direct investment.

Egypt is facing a crisis in providing foreign exchange, as a result of the Russian-Ukrainian war, which affected the rise in commodity prices globally, and the decrease in tourism revenues because the two countries represent a third of incoming tourism to Egypt, in addition to the exodus of indirect foreign investments after the global central banks raised interest rates, which led to The decline in the exchange rate of the pound against the dollar, bringing the average exchange rate of the dollar to 30.83 pounds for purchase, and 30.93 pounds for sale, at the Central Bank, on Monday.

Regarding the existence of concerns about granting citizenship to foreigners, the member of the House of Representatives reassured that the amendments to the law included the establishment of a committee to examine applications for naturalization before approving them, and those wishing to obtain citizenship submit 18 documents showing all information about him, and the applications submitted are checked before granting citizenship, in addition to There is an article in the law that gives Egypt the right to revoke citizenship, indicating that Egypt is not the first country to grant citizenship to foreign investors in return for a deposit or real estate purchase. There are 50 countries around the world that follow the same approach, without affecting its national security.

According to the amendments to the Law on Granting Egyptian Nationality, a unit is established to examine naturalization applications affiliated to the Prime Minister, and includes in its membership representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Investment and International Cooperation and the concerned security authorities.

A member of the Defense and National Security Committee in the House of Representatives said that the amendments to the citizenship law will benefit investors of Syrian, Lebanese and Iraqi nationalities residing in Egypt, so that they can benefit from the same advantages as the local investor, indicating that the reduction in the value of the amounts to obtain citizenship is not huge due to the lack of demand for Egyptian citizenship.

Dr. Fakhry al-Fiqi, Chairman of the Parliament’s Plan and Budget Committee, said that the aim of facilitating the procedures for granting citizenship is to increase the country’s dollar resources, to contribute to solving the crisis of foreign exchange scarcity as a result of the global economic crisis, and the exit of indirect foreign investments worth $22 billion within a short period of the year. Al-Mady, adding that the government is working to diversify the sources of dollar flow to the country by granting facilities to Egyptians abroad to import cars, and obtaining a loan from the International Monetary Fund and development partners.

Egypt is trying to solve the foreign exchange shortage crisis by increasing its dollar resources from its main sources, which are in order according to the most important: export revenue, remittances from workers abroad, tourism, indirect foreign investment, and the Suez Canal, through a program to support exporters to bring Egyptian exports to 100 billion. Dollars, and facilities for foreign investors, including the golden license to facilitate the procedures for setting up projects, and granting facilities to Egyptians abroad to import cars and buy residential lands, and issue high-yield bank certificates, to increase the value of transfers.

Al-Fiqi agreed with what Representative Freddy Al-Bayadi mentioned about the difficulty of the amendments to granting citizenship achieving a huge dollar proceeds, adding that Arab investors from Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen residing in the country may be the most likely to obtain citizenship, and he also stressed that the security authorities ensure the preservation of Egyptian national security. Before granting citizenship, it reviews applicants’ applications.

Fakhri al-Fiqi said, in exclusive statements to CNN in Arabic, that Egypt “receives Arab and African brothers from all countries that suffer from security and political instability, and has not closed its door to anyone, nor has it imposed conditions on them to reside in Egypt, and that amending the granting of Egyptian nationality may benefit Foreign investors residing in Egypt to obtain citizenship, and to deal as a local investor, and at the same time increase the resources of the public treasury in dollars.

And the Egyptian president announced that his country would host 6 million refugees or more on its lands, and it did not receive support in return for their presence in the country, and it also controls its maritime borders to prevent migration to Europe, and at the same time provides projects and job opportunities, this came during his remarks in a press conference with the president. Danish Minister Metta Frederiksen.

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