Sisi directs gov't to stop issuing new subsidy ration cards in order to use savings for overdue development projects

Mohamed Soliman , Wednesday 22 Dec 2021

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi directed the government on Wednesday to stop issuing new subsidy ration cards and limit the number of beneficiaries to two family members per card in order to use savings towards long overdue development projects.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi

Under the current subsidy ration card system, around 70 million citizens receive a number of key food staples at lower-than-market prices, including rice, pasta, cooking oil and bread - at a maximum of four members of a family per card.

The Ministry of Supply has revised the list of citizens eligible to benefit from the subsidy ration card system in the past few years in an effort to streamline operations and ensure that subsidies reach those most in need.

Total food subsidies cost the government EGP 87 billion in the FY2021/2022 budget, according to recent statements by the supply minister.

During the inauguration of a major industrial complex in Assiut, El-Sisi said that the state is no longer able to disburse more subsidies, noting that "this spending is the reason behind the country's delay in implementing development projects for ten years."

"This programme does not exist in any country in the world," El-Sisi said as he stressed the negative impact of unplanned population growth on the country's development plans.

Under the current ration card programme, newly married couples qualify for a new ration card after they are removed from parent's cards.

"How can the state spend money on newlyweds when these sums are needed to carry out development projects! The subsidies should go to services and projects for the greater good," the president added.

"You marry and wait on the state to grant you a ration card… when you are not able to provide for your family? This is the wrong approach. This is the culture has been carved in the minds of Egyptians for a long time!" he lamented.

"This decision aims to help the citizens feel the economic progress that is taking place," the president said.

The president has repeatedly warned of the negative implications of  overpopulation on the country's overall development and stressed the need to control the rate of population growth.

This year, Egypt's population increased by 750,000 in just 160 days, reaching  102,750,000 on 13 December.

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