Egypt court suspends Uber, Careem licenses — judicial sources

The Uber logo is seen outside the Uber Corporate Headquarters building in San Francisco, California. (AFP)
Updated 20 March 2018
0

Egypt court suspends Uber, Careem licenses — judicial sources

CAIRO: An Egyptian court ordered the suspension of licenses for ride-hailing companies Uber and Careem on Tuesday, ruling on a lawsuit filed by taxi drivers seeking to shut down the two firms’ operations in the country, judicial sources said.
Forty-two Egyptian taxi drivers filed suit a year ago against the two companies, arguing that they were illegally using private cars as taxis and that they were registered as a call center and an Internet company, respectively.
Khaled Al-Gammal, a lawyer acting for the taxi drivers, said the court suspended the two companies’ licenses, banned their apps and suspended the use of private cars by the two ride-hailing services.
Tuesday’s decision was effective immediately, meaning the companies must suspend services pending a final ruling, but the companies have 60 days to appeal, the judicial sources said. It was not immediately clear when a final ruling would be issued.
Careem, a Dubai-based competitor to Uber, said it had not yet received any official request to stop operations in Egypt, and continued to operate as normal.
Uber intends to appeal any court decision to suspend ride sharing licenses in Egypt, a source familiar with the matter said. Uber had not been officially informed of the ruling, the source said.
Uber said last year it was committed to Egypt despite challenges presented by sweeping economic reforms and record inflation. Uber in October announced $20 million of investment in its new support center in Cairo.
The San Francisco-based company has had to make deals with local car dealerships to provide its drivers with affordable vehicles and adjust its ride prices to ensure its workers were not hit too hard by inflation.
Uber had two million users in Egypt in 2016, giving jobs to 60,000 drivers, it said.
Egypt is one of Uber’s fastest-growing markets, its general manager in the country, Abdellatif Waked, has said, according to state news agency MENA.
Egypt’s investment ministry said last year a draft law regulating web-based transport services would provide a legal framework for companies like Uber, but did not say when that bill was likely to be passed.
Uber has faced regulatory and legal setbacks around the world amid opposition from traditional taxi services. It has been forced to quit several countries, such as Denmark and Hungary.
Last year, London deemed Uber unfit to run a taxi service and stripped it of its license to operate. Uber is appealing against the decision.


Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field

Updated 14 December 2018
0

Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field

  • Ransom payment would set dangerous precedent
  • NOC declared force majeure on exports on Monday

BENGHAZI: Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corp. (NOC) said it was against paying a ransom to an armed group that has halted crude production at the country’s largest oilfield.
“Any attempt to pay a ransom to the armed militia which shut down El Sharara (oilfield) would set a dangerous precedent that would threaten the recovery of the Libyan economy,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a statement on the company’s website.
NOC on Monday declared force majeure on exports from the 315,000-barrels-per-day oilfield after it was seized at the weekend by a local militia group.
The nearby El-Feel oilfield, which uses the same power supply as El Sharara, was still producing normally, a spokesman for NOC said, without giving an output figure. The field usually pumps around 70,000 bpd.
Since 2013 Libya has faced a wave of blockages of oilfields and export terminals by armed groups and civilians trying to press the country’s weak state into concessions.
Officials have tended to end such action by paying off protesters who demand to be added to the public payroll.
At El Sharara, in southern Libya, a mix of state-paid guards, civilians and tribesmen have occupied the field, camping there since Saturday, protesters and oil workers said. The protesters work in shifts, with some going home at night.
NOC has evacuated some staff by plane, engineers at the oilfield said. A number of sub-stations away from the main field have been vacated and equipment removed.
The occupiers are divided, with members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) indicating they would end the blockade in return for a quick cash payment, oil workers say. The PFG has demanded more men be added to the public payroll.
The tribesmen have asked for long-term development funds, which might take time.
Libya is run by two competing, weak governments. Armed groups, tribesmen and normal Libyans tend to vent their anger about high inflation and a lack of infrastructure on the NOC, which they see as a cash cow booking billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues annually.