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Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Egypt’s wheat import policies should be committed for schizophrenia

Our wheat import policies are becoming schizophrenic: Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy announced that the two Romanian and French wheat cargoes that were held for allegedly containing poppy seeds have been released and will be added to strategic stocks, Reuters reports. The decision, which came as President Abdel Fattah El Sisi sits down with French President Emmanuel Macron, is the latest twist in a mosalsal eerily reminiscent of last year’s ergot flip-flop. We had noted on Sunday reports that the state’s wheat buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), had taken an “informal decision” to suspend imports of French wheat as a result of the shipment. GASC then denied on Monday it had made any such decision, according to Ahram Gate. Last week, El Moselhy had sat down with France’s ambassador to Cairo Stéphane Romatet on Wednesday, during which the ambassador said his country is keen to continue its participation in Egypt’s wheat tenders. Traders had been accusing Egypt’s wheat inspectors with deliberately holding up wheat shipments out of pettiness for losing their travel privileges under the old wheat inspection system, something inspectors deny. It doesn’t take Freud to see the whole system still needs some fine tuning, if not some Prozac.

On a related note, El Moselhy noted that Egypt has built wheat reserves sufficient to last another four months and sugar reserves for another five and half months.

Separately, El Moselhy also announced that newborns will not be added to supply subsidy rolls before January. The Supply Ministry is expected to complete purging the rolls from subsidy fraud and inconsistencies by January, and only then can the system afford to add newborns, he added according to Youm7.

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