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Egypt cuts fuel subsidies by 40.5%, electricity by 75%

Electricity pylons and power transmission lines [Reuters]
Electricity pylons and power transmission lines [Reuters]

Egypt will cut fuel subsidies by 40.5 per cent and electricity by 75 per cent in the financial year 2019-2020, the country’s finance ministry announced yesterday.

“Subsidies on petroleum products will be reduced by 36.112 billion Egyptian pounds ($2.083 billion) during the next financial year 2019-20,” the ministry’s budget report read.

The government, the ministry said, had decided to reduce fuel subsidies from 89.075 billion Egyptian pounds ($5,146 billion) in the current financial year 2018-19 to 52.963 billion Egyptian pounds ($3.060 billion) in the financial year 2019-20.

The reduction was based on “the average global price of Brent crude oil of $68 per barrel.”

The budget needs parliamentary approval before it is passed.

READ: Egypt to cut electricity subsidies by 2022

The Egyptian government has been putting in place numerous economic measures across various sectors to help revive the country’s battered economy.

In November 2016, the International Monterey Fund (IMF) offered Egypt a $12 billion loan aimed at reviving the country’s struggling economy, bringing down public debt and controlling inflation.

The government’s deficit has shrunk, its national debt burden has begun to fall and foreign exchange buffers have been rebuilt, as President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s austerity plan has curtailed public spending.

However, the policies have added to the financial woes of many millions of Egyptians living below the poverty line, who have complained of being unable to afford basic necessities since the price jumps. Inflation has soared after the government floated the Egyptian pound in 2016, and last year, the Treasury announced that it was planning to increase public tax revenues by 131 per cent by 2022.

The impact has been so severe, that it has even prompted popular protests in the heavily surveyed state; last year, in an unprecedented show of digital dissent, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians took to Twitter to voice their discontent and call for Al-Sisi to step down in the aftermath of fuel and electricity subsidy cuts.

READ: Preparations for electricity link between Sudan, Egypt complete

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