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Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Supply Ministry in the limelight following price-printing policy and ahead of other reforms

The Supply Ministry was in the limelight on the airwaves last night, a day after it passed its price-printing policy, and ahead of other anticipated reforms.

Minster Ali El Moselhy told Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi that moving from in-kind subsidies to cash handouts requires thorough studies, without which the transition would not be possible, despite how costly commodity subsidies are to the state. Some 950k new citizens are being brought into the subsidy system under the Takaful and Karama program, he also told the host.

El Moselhy also discussed his ministry’s new internal trade strategy, which he had unveiled last year, explaining how it should help reduce cost by cutting down on agricultural commodity waste (watch, runtime: 13:01).

Over on ONTV, Supply Ministry adviser Mohamed Sewed sang a different tune on the issue of the transition to cash handouts. He rang in to say that the ministry has no current or future plans to make the switch. He noted that subsidy card holders are currently able to use their surplus bread points to buy other subsidized commodities, but stressed that the system is centered around bread — a dietary staple for Egyptians (watch, runtime: 5:22).

Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin spoke to Assistant Supply Minister Ayman Hossam El Din about the price-printing decree. Hossam explained that while the policy doesn’t impose any price controls, it forces vendors to be upfront about prices, in addition to printing receipts for every transaction (watch, runtime: 23:47).

Meanwhile on Kol Youm, Amr Adib discussed his favorite topic — this year’s presidential elections — with National Elections Commission spokesperson Mahmoud El Sherif, who said that candidates will be allowed to pay up to EGP 20 mn on advertisements and promotion. Candidates will have to finance their campaigns using special bank accounts set up for the occasion to allow the the commission to track and monitor their spending, he explained. The spending cap is inclusive of donations, which must be deposited in the accounts, El Sherif said (watch, runtime: 14:00).

Adib also discussed the apparent crisis in fish production with the head of the fish division at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, Ahmed Gaafar, who said that output has been on the decline due to Egypt’s water resources being negatively affected over the past 15 years (watch, runtime: 3:12).

Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal spent his evening talking about development projects the government is planning to implement throughout the year. He spoke to South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda about his governorate’s planned EGP 450 mn water desalination plant, as well as a new EGP 3.5 bn highway that will allow commuters to travel between Cairo and Sharm El Sheikh in four hours. Orascom Construction, Arab Contractors, and the Engineering Authority are working together on the highway (watch, runtime: 2:31).

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