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Egypt mulls gradually lifting bread subsidies: Minister

Egypt’s Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali al-Moselhy announced Saturday that the government is contemplating the gradual lifting of bread subsidies, while identifying the groups most in need for compensation.

During an interview with Ahmed Moussa’s TV show “Ala Massoulity” (By My Responsibility), the minister added that the state is subsidizing wheat and flour in order for a loaf of bread to reach citizens at low price, noting that the in-kind support suffers from some losses.

Citizens are unaware of the value of the commodity they get from in-kind support, he added, and the subsidy for a loaf of bread has become 65 piasters because the price of wheat has increased from US$250 to $361.

Moselhy indicated that the price of local wheat increased by LE100 per ardeb and LE660 per ton, explaining that all these increases were not reflected in the price of the subsidized bread that reaches the citizen in the ration cards.

He added that cash support is provided through the Takaful and Karama program, and social security is cash support with the subsidy of commodities conditional in cash, and the family of four members has up to LE 200 in ration card.

The Minister of Supply added that bread is still an in-kind subsidy, and conditional cash support is more efficient than in-kind support.

Moselhy said that the goal is not to reduce subsidies, but to raise its efficiency.

“We do not want to negatively affect the needy groups, and the gradual lifting of subsidies on bread is being studied with the identification of the groups most in need to compensate them,” Moselhy said.

He stressed that no decision has been taken so far regarding bread, but studies exist and a decision will be taken.

No decision will also be taken without dialogue with parliament and the relevant authorities, he assured, and the goal is to manage the citizens’ money well and for the subsidies to reach the most needy groups, and to raise the efficiency and effectiveness of subsidies.

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