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Wednesday, 23 June 2021

The social safety net is about to get bigger

Individuals earning less than EGP 2.4k a month will be eligible for subsidy ration cards at the start of the state’s upcoming fiscal year on 1 July, with the government upping the monthly salary cap for those eligible from the current EGP 1.5k, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Pensioners earning up to EGP 1.5k (previously EGP 1.2k) will also be eligible for the cards — which allow holders access to subsidized bread and a range of other low-cost commodities, and enable them to add up to four family members to the card.

Keeping pace with minimum wage: This comes as basic salaries for public sector workers are set to increase to EGP 2.4k from EGP 2k next fiscal year, which effectively means the nation will have a higher poverty line.

Speaking of subsidy recipients, what happened to the proposed Cash Subsidies Act? The bill, which has been in the works since right before the pandemic hit in early 2020, was expected to govern a new system of direct money transfers instead of the current setup of in-kind subsidies using ration cards. It was sent to the House of Representatives back in July 2019, but has been in limbo since. Our best guess is that, well, covid happened.

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