With the current demand for a strong government budget, the idea of imposing taxes on advertisements by Google, Facebook and other social media platforms has been brought up since early July in the Communications Committee.

Mustafa Bakri, a member of the Egyptian House of Representatives, has informed Al-Monitor that ‘the principle goal behind passing this draft is to increase the resources of the public budget through applying Article 60 of Stamp Duty Act 111 of 1968’. He added that other countries, such as Britain and Israel, successfully applied these laws to fulfill the aim of increasing economic resources. This law, however, is purely directed towards economic interests rather than authority over content displayed, Bakri assures.

Weighing out the benefits, Jean Tal’at, a member of the Communications and Information Technology Committee, points out that, ‘Collecting taxes due to the state — as in every other country on the globe — is nothing to be ashamed of, nor is it a crime. On the contrary, the greater crime is being committed against the country that fails to apply its own laws and wastes billions of pounds [that could go to] the public budget due to non-application of its own laws’.

However, with further revision, the prospects of passing it become dimmed. Head of the Legislative Committee in the Ministry of Communications, Abd Al Rahman As- Sawi, urges for a redefinition of the ‘tax’ concept, as taxes are only levied on revenues of companies or institutions inside Egypt.

Some also pick out hidden aims behind such law, as a researcher in the field of digital liberties and digital security, Rami Ra’uf, states that, ‘this law seeks in the first place to widen the authorities of the executive agencies to observe content published on these sites’.

Currently, the decision to implement the law remains unsteady, yet Ra’uf insists on its difficulty by reflecting on previous failures to pass similar draft laws proposed to the Ministry of Communications.

Copyright: Al Monitor

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