A worker sells subsidized food commodities at a government-run supermarket in Cairo, Egypt, February 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
CAIRO – 4 July 2017: Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali al-Moselhi said July 3 that procedures, guidelines and rules governing the addition of new born children to ration cards will be put in place and announced July 11. This comes after the Prime Minister has approved a decision to add children that are not currently on the cards but should be to the cards.
A study will be conducted on how to add children and new borns and at what age these children should be added. The cabinet meeting will be held next week, starting July 8, with the start of implementation at the beginning of the following week, starting July 15.
The approval of the Prime Minister, Moselhi tells Egypt Today, for the addition of new borns on the cards comes within the framework of the government's keenness to provide goods for citizens and support, as part of their human development and support strategy. All commodities on the card are in state-run outlets and branches of consumer complexes and outlets of subsidiaries in the provinces, says the Minister.
The Cabinet’s decision to add new borns to the ration cards came primarily as part of a plan to increase the value of subsidies allocated to citizens in the system of food supplies who need them, and the amount of beneficiaries in Egypt. Currently, the country pays LE 3.5 billion every month to cover subsidies, with this figure expected to significantly increase to support rationed goods that will be allocated to the newly-added individuals on the ration cards.
The decision is designed to alleviate the suffering of many citizens in light of the rise in the prices of goods and services, especially with the rice of the price of fuel and petroleum products, as well as utility services.
After the previous hike in petroleum product prices on June 16, Minister of Finance, Dr. Mohamed Muait, said that the decision to cut subsidies on petroleum products, which resulted in an increase of petroleum products’ prices on Saturday, is necessary to maintain financial stability after he doubling of oil prices globally that have exceeded $80 per barrel. Adapting the prices to keep up who the changes prices globally secures the country from falling back into economic troubles, explained the Minister.
The Minister of Finance further pointed out that Egypt was quick to react to the surge of prices and tackle the situation, as to ensure that the size of the budget deficit is not increased. The money saved, the minister explained, will be allocated towards health, education, public investment, job creation for youth and social housing.
The Minister further pointed out that subsidies of petroleum products in the budget of the new fiscal year fell to LE 89.1 billion pounds compared to LE 110.15 billion estimated by the budget of the current fiscal year; if the price of oil continues on this path globally, the bill is expected to reach LE 180 billion.
Muait further assured that the budget has allocated LE 334 billion in subsidies, which confirms the state’s intention to continue supporting and protecting lower segments of the population, and that cutting fuel subsidies will ensure that the money reached the right people and the appropriate beneficiaties.
Besides oil subsidies, there is 100 billion pounds to support bread and other products on ration cards.
In similar vein, Hamdi Abdul Aziz, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Petroleum, confirmed that the support of petroleum products during the past five years reached LE 500 billion, which did not benefit the rightful beneficiaries only. He pointed out that the government is working through an integrated plan to correct social justice, putting the money saved towards education, health and housing.
Products on the ration card
The Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade provides about 20 items on ration cards at prices lower than those in normal markets. The products are disbursed to cardholders within the LE 50 limit per person.
Currently, there are 70 million beneficiaries.
Of course prices vary between products but one thing remains true, prices are cheaper in subsidized markets than in normal ones. For example, the price of a one-kilo packet of lentils stands at LE 16, instead of LE 20-22; rice stands at LE 6.5, instead of LE 8-10; and, the kilo of flour is sold for LE 6, instead of LE 7-8.
A 400-gram bag of pasta is also sold at a price of LE 3.25, instead of LE 4-4.5; beans stand at LE 7, instead of LE 10-12; sunflower oil is sold for LE 20, instead of LE 23-24; the package of tomato sauce (300 grams) goes for LE 4.75 on the card, instead of LE 5 to 5.5; and, dry milk goes for LE 17, instead of LE 18-20.
Overall, all commodities see at least a 10 percent cut on the card; cuts go up to 30 percent sometimes.
Caring for citizens
Mostafa Madbouly, Prime Minister of Egypt, stressed July 3, in front of the House of Representatives that the provision of goods on ration cards, especially in improvised areas, through the provision of 6,000 ports for the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade, as well as many other ports, are vital to ensure a good living standard for citizens of the state.
“The implementation of the logistical program will start in seven places during the first stage, which will see the establishment of markets in each governorate for the purpose of providing citizens with subsidised commodities, increasing the efficiency of the support system and completing the unified database of ration cards,” Madbouly told the House July 3. “The unregistered children will be registered starting July 1, 2018, for a period of three months, to October 1, 2018.”
A look back at food security initiatives: The Ahlan Ramadan Supermarket Expo
Held from May 10-16 on an area of 15,000 square meters, the Minister of Supply and Internal Trading said during a press conference held on April 3, “We are organizing the Expo this year before Ramadan, leaving plenty of time for citizens to be able to benefit from the great deals and the discounted prices.”
During the opening ceremony of the Expo, Moselhy expressed the important role that the Holding Company for Food Industries and its subsidiaries have in supplying foods to consumers on a regular basis and the great job they do in ensuring foods are always available. These needs were also covered through the participation of the private sector and major producers in the ‘Ahlan Ramadan’ Expo in various governorates.
In comments to Egypt Today, Minister Moselhy added that the initiative to reduce prices is set to continue till the end of the month, suggesting that this comes as part of the government’s plan to offer citizens high-quality foods at reasonable prices. Moselhy further confirmed that discounts start from at least 15 percent, and reach more than 30 percent for many products, especially commodities. The exhibitors also sold some products at a lower cost, which confirms the great cooperation between the government and the private sector, he added.
The minister added that the Expo comes as part of President Sisi’s directions to provide food commodities at reasonable prices and to work continuously for the good of citizens. The minister also revealed that the government has been able to provide 1.7 million Ramadan packages—an extra 700,000 from the planned amount—and distribute them to families in need throughout Egypt. The bags, valued at LE 51.5, are sold for half their value, at LE 25, and include essential commodities.
To ensure that North Sinai residents benefit from these discounted prices, the Holding Company for Food Industries coordinated with General Abdel Fattah Harbor, Governor of North Sinai, to provide additional reductions for the people of North Sinai, that reach up to 20 percent on all food products and ensure regular deliveries of commodities for several months, Alaa El-Din Fahmy, Chairman of the Holding Company for Food Industries at the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade tells Egypt Today. Fahmy also affirmed that the Minister of Supply and Internal Trade is continuously working on supplying goods, including meats and poultry, to the families of North Sinai, revealing that convoys will start heading to all governorates soon.
The Cabinet focuses of raising living standards of Egyptians
Parliament Deputy Speaker Suleiman Wahdan commended the new government plan that Madbouly submitted to the Parliament for ratification as he said it included several aspects of developing the Egyptian citizens and constructing social security programs.
He added in an interview with Al-Hayah satellite channel that the program paid extra attention to SMEs and social development programs; moreover, he said the program also focuses on developing vocational education and teachers.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced that thousands of job vacancies will be available to youth and women as part of a new strategy prepared by the government to increase the workforce volume. In a statement before the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Madbouly announced his newly-formed Cabinet’s Program.
According to the Egyptian Constitution, the Parliament has subsequently discussed Madbouly’s statement. Furthermore, the Parliament assigned a special committee with issuing a report on Madbouly’s statement in 10 days. The report will be consequently reviewed by the Parliament in a plenary session.
Earlier in June, President Abdel Fatah al Sisi ordered Madbouly to form a new government to succeed that of Sherif Ismail, who resigned on June 5. The new Cabinet has sworn-in on June 14, with 12 new ministers, including the interior and defense ministers.
For his part, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Omar Marawan said the government statement by Madbouly dropped several spotlights on the new government plan.
Marawan stressed during his interview with Sada El-Balad satellite channel that the program relies on extreme reality, and not dreams.
He pointed out that the program was submitted in more than 150 pages, while the statement that Madbouly recited today was 29 pages that summarize what the program includes.
In Madbouly’s 20-minute speech, he manifested that 85 percent of the government economic reform program is accomplished.
”The Egyptian citizen will feel a tangible improvement,” Madbouly promised the Egyptians. “You were very patient and the results will be good.”
CAIRO - 3 July 2018: Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced that thousands of job vacancies will be available to youth and women as part of a new strategy prepared by the government to increase the workforce volume. In a statement before the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Madbouly announced his newly-formed Cabinet's Program.