Egypt has exempted raw sugar imports from customs tariffs from 1 January to 31 December of this year, the cabinet said in a statement on Monday reported by state news agency MENA.
The country has been facing a shortage in supplies of sugar, of which Egypt consumes more than three million tons annually, since September, due to a foreign currency crisis.
The shortage eased following the country’s decision to float its currency in November, and a move by the supply ministry to import 120,000 tons of sugar from Brazil and France.
The imports of sugar increased 7,535 percent year-on-year in December 2016, CAPMAS said in statement on Sunday.
In a statement on Friday, the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade said that the General Authority for Supply Commodities will be the entity to hold tenders for importing raw sugar from international companies instead of the supply ministry. Imported raw sugar will be refined domestically.
The Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali El-Meselhy also announced on Friday that the price of unsubsidised sugar will decrease to EGP10.50 per kilogram in order to end the disparity in prices that appeared after the shortage.
Egypt underwent a hard currency crisis last year that resulted in high dollar rates on the black market and left banks unable to provide companies with the currency needed to service imports.
The central bank floated the pound against the dollar in November 2016 in an attempt to alleviate the country’s flagging economy, leading the pound to plummet reaching an average exchange rate of EGP 18.5 to the dollar, compared to EGP 8.88 prior to the flotation.