Egyptian government considers distribution of gasoline by coupons

Petroleum Minister Abdullah Ghorab on Tuesday said the government is meeting soon to discuss a plan submitted by the General Petroleum Authority to ration subsidies of petroleum products and energy.

“We shall start by distributing gasoline with coupons,” Ghorab said, pointing out that the ministry has a complete database of those who deserve to buy subsidized fuel. “This achieves justice.”

The minister explained that there are 3.5 million cars in Egypt, an average of one car per every five citizens, which means there are almost 20 million citizens benefiting from the fuel subsidies, while 60 million others are not. “The coupons would also reduce consumption,” he said.

The Petroleum Authority already changed diesel prices for companies operating in entertainment and export. “Those recreational facilities consume an average of 40,000 tons per year that they get for a subsidized price,” said authority chairman Hani Dahy. “It is unfair, especially as they sell their products at world market prices.”

Several governorates on Tuesday suffered fuel shortages. In Gharbiya, cars queued before gas stations, causing traffic jams, while in Alexandria, bakery owners could not find diesel fuel quotas allocated to them.

In Damietta, clashes erupted among drivers, and in Minya, they threatened to block the railroads if the crisis is not resolved. Similar problems were present in Giza and Mansoura.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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