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Egypt governorates refusing to implement new butane rationing: Official

Plans to reform the supply of cooking gas in two provinces are being stymied by local government after concerns over security

Ahram Online, Monday 7 May 2012
gas cylinder
A woman carries a gas cylinder distributed by the army in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
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Governors and depot owners in Egypt's provinces are refusing to implement a new rationing system for cooking gas with an official from the Ministry of Supply saying there is insufficient security to introduce the regulations.

A coupon system to ration citizens' access to subsidised butane was due to be introduced in the Red Sea and New Valley governorates on 1 May. 
 
Under the proposed shake-up, cylinders weighing 12.6 kilograms would be sold for LE5, a sizeable reduction on the true cost of LE80. Families of up to two persons would be entitled to one cylinder a month, with larger families eligible for two.
 
But the plan is being blocked by local government due to concerns over how to regulate a sector notorious for profiteering, Anwar El-Naqeeb, advisor to the Minister of Supply, said on Sunday.
 
He also said that distribution centres were concerned about their earnings under the new system.
 
"Depot owners want to raise their profit margin for each cylinder to LE3 instead of LE1.2,” El-Naqeeb said.
 
The coupon system was announced by Minister of Supply Gouda Abdel-Khaleq in September and due to be implemented in two of the country's least populated governorates before being rolled out across the rest of Egypt.
 
The ministry claimed the system would eventually benefit around 65 million citizens, registered through 14 million ration cards. 
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