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Egypt plans more cuts to subsidies, increases for food

April 10, 2018 at 3:19 pm

Egypt plans to cut fuel subsidies by a quarter and nearly halve those for electricity in the financial year starting in July, but will raise food subsidies slightly, a government document said, in a move that would reduce budget costs by $2.4 billion.

Cutting subsidies to reduce pressure on government spending is one of the country’s main goals as it pushes forward with reforms to revive an economy that has struggled since a 2011 uprising. It is also a condition of a $12 billion deal Egypt signed with the International Monetary Fund in 2016.

Egypt aims to reduce subsidies on fuel to 89.075 billion Egyptian pounds ($5.05 billion) from 120.926 billion pounds ($6.83 billion) in the 2018/19 fiscal year, according to the document.

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It will also reduce electricity subsidies by almost half, bringing them down to 16 billion Egyptian pounds (0.9 billion) from 30 billion pounds (1.69 billion), the statement said.

Last summer, Egypt raised fuel and electricity prices by 50 and 42 per cent respectively, sending inflation shooting up.

The country aims to increase food subsidies by five per cent, to reach 86.175 billion pounds ($4.87 billion) from 82.177 billion pounds ($4.65 billion), according to the same document. Egypt supports about 68.8 million citizens through 20.8 million subsidy cards that grant each citizen 50 pounds ($2.82) monthly to buy essential goods.

The government submitted a 2018/19 budget draft to parliament last month and expects it to be ratified before the start of the new fiscal year.