Egyptian PM expects sugar shortage to end in a week

Ahram Online , Tuesday 25 Oct 2016

A woman smiles as she carries subsidized sugar after buying it from a government truck, during a sugar shortage in retail stores across the country, in Cairo, Egypt, October 14, 2016. Picture taken October 14, 2016. (Reuters)

Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said the country has sufficient stocks of sugar to cover at least three months and that he expects the recent shortage of the commodity to end in a week.

Egypt has been facing a shortage in sugar supplies for weeks amid a foreign currency crisis and rising global prices that have crippled imports.

But the prime minister said on Monday that sugar reserves are sufficient, largely blaming traders and consumers for the crisis.

"The current available sugar stocks cover at least three months," Ismail said during an interview with Egypt's CBC channel.

He added that the recent government campaign of monitoring traders and factories has had a "positive impact" and that authorities have seized 9,000 tonnes of sugar.

"There are some negative points that we are dealing with…they were a limited number of cases," he said, in reference to raids on factories.

"We can't leave the market without supervision... monitoring is necessary."

Edita Food Industries, one of the country's largest food producers, said on Monday that its factory in Beni Suef had been shut down for three days after authorities confiscated its sugar stocks.

Ismail said he expects the sugar crisis to end in "a week or ten days" if the government continues to distribute a necessary 10,000 tonnes of sugar every day throughout this period.

He said the government already pumps 8,000- 10,000 tonnes into the market daily.

Egypt consumes around 3 million tonnes of sugar annually, with some 2.2 million tonnes produced domestically and the rest imported.

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