On 3 October 2018, the new Public Contracts Law No. 182 of 2018 (the “Law”) was published in the Official Gazette. The Law was discussed and passed by the House of Representatives last July, and comes into effect 30 days following its publication. As the new framework for regulating contracts concluded by public entities, it replaces the previous Bids and Tenders Law No. 89 of 1998. It regulates with considerable detail several types of public contracts, projects, and assets and provides specific rules for the sale, purchase, or procurement of services in relation thereto. Compared to its predecessor the new Law attempts to create a comprehensive legal regime for public procurement. It provides more discretionary powers to administrative bodies down to the level of contracting departments, and expands the authority of government agencies to contract directly in several cases. National security considerations trigger exemptions and the discretion to use any bidding process, including direct contracting. Comprehensive private sector investment initiatives have special status, as Cabinet can authorize the use of any bidding process even if the criteria for its use have not been met. Complex and multiparty transactions are also subject to their own general framework as ratified by a ministerial committee. The use of the government’s electronic public contracts portal is echoed throughout the Law, so are provisions aimed at giving preference to Egyptian local component, and SMEs.
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