Smartcard system for subsidized fuel to start in July

Petroleum Minister Osama Kamal announced Monday that subsidized fuel will be distributed through a smartcard system starting in July.

The move comes as the government mulls ways to restructure subsidies in a bid to attain a US$4.8 billion IMF loan and help close a yawning budget deficit.

In an interview with the privately-owned CBC satellite TV channel, Kamal said the smartcard system will be ready by July.

The Cabinet has previously vowed to reform subsidies, which eat up about a quarter of the budget.

At the end of last year, the government lifted subsidies on 95 octane gasoline, prompting some motorists to turn to lower grade fuels.

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