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Fuel Smart Cards for 1100 Egyptian firms

Heavy-fuel customers selected for new government subsidy programme

Ahram Online, Tuesday 15 Oct 2013
petrol station
A worker fills the tank of a car at a petrol station in Cairo, March 12, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)
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The Egyptian government has selected 1100 heavy-consumption fuel customers to use the new smart card system for subsidised fuel, the ministry of finance stated on Tuesday.

Among such clientele are big construction firms, mobile companies, hospitals, hotels and tourism resorts.

The new system is intending to extend this service to all heavy-consumption customers by the end of November.

Smart cards are part of a programme to prevent the leakage of petroleum products onto the black market and to smugglers. It aims to restrict governmental fuel subsidies, which reached LE120 billion in 2012/13, compared to LE40 billion in 2005/06.

The total energy subsidies bill is expected to be reduced to LE100 billion in 2013/14.

The government has prepared seven million smart cards for issue once user data has been revised by the ministry of interior.

The state’s ministries of finance and interior are working with E-Finance Company to operate the new system.

According to the statement, vehicles and users without a traffic licence, such as agricultural vehicles, bakeries and fishing boats, will be eligible for more than four million smart cards.

Around 12.3 thousand devices for the new cards will be available at gas stations nationwide in the first week of November, the statement added.

Egypt sells many energy products at prices substantially below the cost of production.

Successive governments have struggled to cut the cost of energy subsidies, which make up 20 percent of all state expenditure, without angering citizens.

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