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Egyptians take to social media to slam Sisi's call to raise bread prices

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Baghdad, Iraq on 27 June 2021 [Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency]
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Baghdad, Iraq on 27 June 2021 [Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

Many Egyptians took to social media to criticise President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's call to increase the price of the country's subsidised bread, as part of austerity measures being taken by the government.

"It is time for the 5 piaster loaf to increase in price," Sisi said on Tuesday during the opening of a food production plant.

"Some might tell me to leave this to the prime minister, to the supply minister [to raise the price]; but no, I will do it in front of my country and my people," he added.

The Arabic hashtag "Anything but the loaf of bread" was trending on Twitter on Tuesday and Wednesday with users warning that the decision would only exacerbate the suffering of the most vulnerable groups in Egypt.

According to the financial statement of the Egyptian general budget for the fiscal year 2020-2021, the subsidised bread system covers about 71 million beneficiaries, at a rate of five loaves per person per day.

READ: Egypt religious cleric conflates Sisi's bread price rise with divine law

Officials at the Ministry of Supply said they have already begun studying the increase in bread price and that a proposal will be presented to the Council of Ministers soon.

Despite the public uproar, the Farmers' Syndicate and the Bakeries Division of the Federation of Egyptian Industries welcomed the president's announcement, describing it as "bold" even if it "came late".

In August last year the Egyptian administration reduced the weight of a subsidised loaf of bread from 110 grammes to 90 grammes.

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