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New Unified Finance Law to merge two pieces of legislation into a single bill .

New Unified Finance Law to merge two pieces of legislation into a single bill: Finance minister .

Egypt’s Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait told MPs in a plenary session on Sunday morning that the new Unified Finance Law represents a radical step towards upgrading the process of drafting the state’s annual budget.

“This will come through merging two pieces of legislation — the one regulating the annual state budget and the one dealing with government accounting — into a single bill,” said Maait, adding that “the new law will push the economy into the direction of observing new automation methods and abiding by the highest standards of transparency and disclosure.”

The minister said the new Unified Finance Law was drafted by the government after consulting a number of international institutions like the IMF.

“As a result, this law will require a radical change in our budgeting systems and all state institutions will be obliged to receive training on drafting the state budget in line with the new most up-to-date methods,” said Maait.

On Sunday, the House approved 20 articles of the new Unified Finance Law. Minister Maait said that the new law requires that the new state budgets be prepared in line with the objectives and programmes of the country’s socio-economic development plans and the state’s strategic goals.

“To achieve this, article 8 of the law states that the chapters of the budget will be titled ‘economic, administrative, and technical,’ with the law’s executive regulations explaining the details of each chapter,” said Maait, adding that “each chapter will observe transparency, even though in some cases and due to some matters related to national security some items will remain a secret.”

Some MPs proposed that the law’s executive regulations be prepared within six months — rather than one year — from the date the law is issued.

In response, Minister Maait said “the one-year period is very important in order not to put the Ministry of Finance in a hurry and make sure that the executive regulations really reflect the philosophy of the new law.”

Furthermore, he explained that “until the executive regulations of the new law are passed, the Ministry of Finance will be obliged to implement the current law’s executive regulations in order not to face a ‘legislative vacuum.’”

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