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Thursday, 17 November 2022

Crackdown on rice hoarding + an uneven start to life for the government’s car import app

It was almost a COP-less night on the airwaves last night if you can believe it: The nation’s talking heads turned their focus to domestic issues, including the new app to help expats apply to the car import scheme and the government labeling rice as a strategic commodity to crack down on rice hoarding.

Rice is now a strategic commodity: Rice producers, distributors and sellers who withhold rice will now be at risk of jail terms and hefty fines after ministers yesterday decided to designate it a “strategic commodity” for at least three months. In a statement following its weekly meeting, the cabinet said that people found guilty of hoarding rice could face at least a year in jail and fines of up to EGP 2 mn. In an interview on Ala Mas’ouleety, cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad said that the penalties have been introduced to deter traders who try to exploit the opportunity to hoard rice amid a global shortage of commodities (watch, runtime: 4:26).

But not everyone is happy with the decision: In a conversation with Yahduth Fi Masr’s Sherif Amer, the head of the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ rice division, Ragab Shehata, said that the government should have consulted with industry players before taking the decision. Shehata said the problem lies more with producers than traders. “The target was 1.5 mn tonnes of [supplied] rice to the Supply Ministry, but what was actually supplied was approximately 250k tonnes,” he said (watch, runtime: 6:15). Masaa DMC also covered the story (watch, runtime: 17:00).

The expat car import scheme continued to get attention last night in the wake of the Tuesday launch of the mobile app (App Store | Google Play). Yahduth Fi Masr’s Sherif Amer didn’t give the app a good review after taking it for a test drive, telling viewers that it wouldn’t let him lodge an import request for a vehicle in Saudi Arabia (watch, runtime: 2:25). Saad reiterated the T&Cs on Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 4:30) while Masaa DMC covered the app launch (watch, runtime: 3:23).

Green hydrogen got a bit of attention: The MoU signed between Egypt and EU yesterday to set up a strategic partnership on green hydrogen (more on this in this morning’s news well, above). Electricity Ministry spokesperson Ayman Hamza was on Al Hayah Al Youm to discuss the agreement (watch, runtime: 8:32). It was also getting coverage from Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 2:54)

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