On 19th of April 2019, President Abdel Fatah El-SISI signed Law No. 18 of 2019 mandating the use of cashless payment by public and private entities (the “Law”).
Cash transaction is the primary payment mechanism in Egypt. This leads to ineffective allocation of resources, increased transaction costs and the inadequate and slow expansion of financial services. Transformation to a cashless economy, especially in developing countries, results in increasing the efficiency of economic, fiscal and monetary policies, and supports the economic growth.
“Cashless means of payment” is broadly defined in the Law to include any payment method which results in adding money to the bank account of the beneficiary, such as deposits, transfers and debit and credit cards. It also includes payment through mobile phones or other means to be decided by the Central Bank of Egypt.
The Prime Minister shall issue the Executive Regulations of the Law within 6 months from its issuance date.
The Scope of Application
Public Entities and State-owned Companies:
The Law puts an obligation on all public authorities and entities as well as state-owned companies to pay the following through cashless means of payment whatever their amount:
- Financial dues to board members and external experts.
- Social security contributions. The following payments shall be made by cashless means of payment only if their value exceeds the threshold to be stipulated in the Executive Regulations:
- Financial dues to suppliers, contractors and service providers.
- Cash financing.
- Financial dues for syndications’ members and special insurance funds.
- Donations and subsidies by NGOs.
- Payments for buying, leasing and using of real estate and vehicles.
The following shall also be paid by cashless means of payment:
- Taxes, customs, duties and related fines.
- Payment for services and amounts due to public authorities and entities providing services to the public.
- Cash funding installments, insurance policies installments, syndicates contributions and private insurance funds.
- Payment of donations and subsidies to NGOs.
Private companies and entities shall also be required to pay salaries and financial dues to its board members, external experts as well as the social insurance contributions by cashless means of payment if they reach the number of employee or the payroll thresholds to be stipulated in the Executive Regulations.
Governmental authorities and public entities are required by the Law to make cashless means of payment available to the public without an additional cost.
Governmental authorities and public entities are allowed – after approval of the Minister of Finance – to grant the incentives to those who use the cashless means of payment. Such incentives can include monetary reductions or refund of part of the dues.
A fine not less than 2% and not exceeding 10% of the amount paid in cash (with a maximum of EGP 1 Million) shall be imposed as a punishment on everyone who pay or collect the above listed financial dues in cash.
The same fine shall be imposed on those who divide the amount to be paid in order to evade reaching the specified thresholds in the Law.
Managers of an entity shall be punished with the same penalty if it is proven that s/he contributed to the violation by his/her negligence and that s/he was aware of the violation.