The New Draft Law Regarding Investment Incentives for Green Hydrogen Projects

January 22, 2024

Introduction:

On 17 May 2023, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the anticipated package of incentives for green hydrogen and derivative projects established in Egypt. Earlier this year, the draft law regarding investment incentives for green hydrogen projects (the “Draft Law”) was finally approved by Parliament, and it is expected to be enacted into law soon.

Green hydrogen is part of Egypt’s plan to promote sustainable social and economic development and reduce carbon emissions. In 2022, several decrees, including Cabinet Decrees No. 20, 981, and 983, were issued, recognising and granting incentives for producing, storing, and exporting green hydrogen, aligning with the state’s economic development strategy and investment law. In light of those decrees, the Draft Law that Parliament approved tackled the incentives and guarantees for green hydrogen production projects and their derivatives to create an attractive investment environment for investors, enabling them to accelerate the implementation of their projects inside Egypt.

The Draft Law aligns with the Egyptian Constitution regarding economic objectives, including achieving economic development, creating job opportunities, and reducing the unemployment rate. It includes other objectives such as encouraging investment, creating a conducive atmosphere for investment, expanding production, and promoting exportation. The development of green hydrogen projects aims to enhance private sector participation in serving society and the national economy. The Draft Law’s key provisions are detailed across seven articles, which will be presented below:

 

Key Provisions:

Article One covers definitions.

Article Two specifies the scope of the law’s application to projects for producing green hydrogen and its derivatives and that such projects must have agreements concluded within 5 (five) years from the law’s implementation date. These projects include factories to produce green hydrogen and its derivatives, water desalination plants, electric power production plants from renewable energy sources, projects limited to transporting, storing, or distributing green hydrogen and its derivatives, and projects directly involved in manufacturing or production equipment necessary for green hydrogen production and their derivatives.

Article Three clarifies some of the requirements for establishing the project company (i.e., Special Purpose Vehicle (“SPV”)), the governing laws, and the maximum duration of the project agreements. The article also included a condition, which is to conclude project expansion agreements within 7 (seven) years from the date of the start of commercial operation of the project.

Article Four provides numerous tax incentives to green hydrogen production projects and their derivatives. Key incentives include a cash investment incentive known as the ‘Green Hydrogen Incentive,’ valued at no less than 33% (thirty-three per cent) and no more than 55% (fifty-five per cent) of the tax paid upon declaring the income generated from initiating activities in the project or its expansions. These incentives also involve VAT exemption on equipment, tools, machines, devices, raw materials, supplies, and transportation (excluding passenger cars). Furthermore, the VAT rate for exports of green hydrogen projects and their derivatives is set at 0% (zero per cent). The article outlines exemptions from real estate tax for properties actively utilised in these projects, as well as a waiver of stamp tax, documentation and registration fees related to the company’s article of association, credit facility and mortgage contracts, land registration contracts necessary for establishing green hydrogen projects and their derivatives, and customs tax exemption on all imports essential for these projects, excluding passenger cars.

Article Five grants non-tax incentives to such projects, the most important of which are: the SPV obtaining a single approval (Golden License) detailed under the provisions of Investment Law No. 72 of 2017 allowing the SPV to import, on its own or through others raw materials, production requirements, machines, spare parts, and means of transportation for its establishment, expansion, or operation without the need for a license and without the need to be registered in the importers’ register. Incentives also included allowing the SPV, during the first 10 (ten) years from the date of signing the project agreements, to hire foreign workers up to 30% (thirty per cent) of the total project workforce. It permits the establishment of special customs zones for the project’s exports or imports in accordance with the Minister of Finance. Additionally, the Draft Law grants a 30% (thirty per cent) reduction in fees related to the use of maritime ports and maritime transport services in Egyptian ports, a 25% (twenty-five per cent) reduction in fees for the right to use the industrial land allocated for the establishment of green hydrogen production factories and its derivatives and a 20% (twenty per cent) reduction in fees for storing facilities in ports. The licenses required for implementing green hydrogen production projects and their derivatives should have the same duration as the usufruct right to the land.

Article Six highlights several conditions to grant incentives to green hydrogen projects, their derivatives, and expansion projects under the law, including (1) initiating commercial operation of the project within five years from the date of concluding the project agreements, (2) financing the project depends on foreign currency from international project financiers, constituting at least 70% (seventy per cent) of the investment cost, and (3) using national components whenever available in the local market constituting at least 20% (twenty per cent) of the project components. The article also emphasises the project’s contribution to transferring and localising technology and a commitment to developing and implementing training programs for Egyptian workers.

Article Seven states that the competent minister or their authorized representative will issue the required certificate to benefit from the incentives in this Draft Law. This certificate is considered final and effective on its own without the need for the approval of other authorities, and all authorities must act in accordance with it and abide by the data contained therein.

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