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Sunday, 17 November 2019

Populist measures in Egypt continue as gov’t announces lower food prices

Gov’t cuts prices of some core subsidized foodstuffs: The Supply Ministry will reduce the prices of subsidized food commodities starting December, state news agency MENA quoted Supply Minister Aly El Moselhy as saying, according to Reuters. The price cuts include:

  • Cooking oil: By EGP 1 to EGP 8.5 per bottle;
  • Sugar: By EGP 0.5 to EGP 8.5 per kilogram;
  • Rice: By EGP 1 to EGP 8 per kilogram;
  • Flour: By EGP 0.25 to EGP 6.50 per bag.

Background: The government reinstated last month some 1.8 mn people to the food subsidy rolls after they had been removed earlier this year under the Great Subsidy Rolls Purge and a general reform drive to reduce the budget deficit. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s tweet about measures to shore up the social safety nets and help “protect the rights” of low-income citizens prompted the move. The tweet came after small protests broke out around the country in late September, signalling discontent with austerity measures. Investors voiced concerns at the time that subsidy reversal could derail progress on economic reform and lead to the government failing to meet its fiscal targets.

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