Local Development Minister Mahmoud Shaarawy has announced a six-month ban on construction permits in various urban cities, including Greater Cairo and Alexandria, pending verification of complying with building codes, Invest-Gate reports.

Effective as of May 24, and coming in line with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s directives, the decision stipulates the halting of private housing construction until verifying compliance to building codes and other standards such as allowing for enough parking spots, Minister of Local Development Mahmoud Shaarawy noted in a Cabinet statement on May 25.

The minister indicated that industrial, tourism, government, and national projects are excluded from the ministerial decision, stressing that strict measures will be taken against violators.

In March, the Egyptian parliament approved the Unified Building Code, giving the government sharper teeth to clamp down on illegal construction. The long-awaited amendments extend the validity of building permits to three years from one, and impose harsher penalties on building code violations, especially for building on agricultural land.