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Egypt mulls cash support instead of subsidizing commodities: Minister

The Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, Ali Moslehi, announced Sunday that the government is considering converting commodity support to cash support, and waiting for economic conditions to stabilize.

He assured that if this measure is taken it will be optional for citizens, and added that it comes within the government’s efforts to deal with economic challenges.

During a telephone interview on “On” TV channel, Moslehi said that if subsidized bread is offered at the market price, it would be at one pound instead of five piasters, as a loaf of bread costs the government a full pound, but it is sold for five piasters, and the government subsidizes it with 95 piasters.

The minister noted that Egypt has been impacted by global events, such as the Russia-Ukraine war and the events in Gaza, which led to an increase in shipping prices globally.

Support for food commodities in the state’s general budget for the fiscal year 2023/2024 is estimated at about LE 127.7 billion, compared to about LE 90 billion in the budget for the fiscal year 2022/2023 – an increase amounting to about LE 37 billion.

More than 60 million people benefit from the ration cards system, under which each family with a ration card receives LE50 ($1.62) per person each month to purchase about 32 commodities including pasta, flour, and beans, all at subsidized prices.

The government also provides heavily subsidized bread to more than 70 million out of 104 million citizens.

The government postponed plans to raise the price of subsidized bread – which has not changed for decades – following the repercussions of the war in Ukraine.

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