Egypt fixes unsubsidised bread prices, fines violators to regulate market

Mai Ghandour, Monday 21 Mar 2022

Egypt has set fixed prices for unsubsidised bread at outlets and bakeries across the country for three months or until further notice, with violators facing heavy fines, to regulate the market.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly on Monday. (Photo courtesy of the Egyptian cabinet Facebook page)

The move is the latest in a series of measures Egypt has adopted to maintain price stability and combat price wars in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war.

The 45g bread loaf will stand at EGP 0.5, the 65g loaf at EGP 0.75, and the 90g loaf at EGP 1, said Madbouly. 

Meanwhile, commercial bread will sell for EGP 11.5 per kg.

Regarding Fino bread, the 40g loaf will be sold for EGP 0.5, the 60g loaf at EGP 0.75, and the 80g loaf at EGP 1.

The decision, announced by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and published in the official gazette on Monday, goes into effect Tuesday and will remain in place for three months or until further notice,

According to the decision, violators will face fines of not less than EGP 100,000 and not more than EGP 5 million if they sell the bread for a higher price. 

Also, outlets and bakeries have to advertise bread prices in a visible place for customers.

Over the past two weeks, the price of unsubsidised bread in Egypt has soared by nearly 50 percent on the back of the disruption of wheat supply due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

However, the government has said that Egypt, the world’s top wheat importer, has sufficient local reserves of the grain for eight months.

Egypt imports around 80 percent of its wheat, a strategic commodity that goes into producing the staple of bread for Egyptians, from Russia and Ukraine.

The cabinet had previously authorised the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade supply to take the necessary measures to establish a pricing mechanism for unsubsidised bread to curb price hikes, in line with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s recent directives to the government to assess the cost of producing unsubsidised bread in order to regulate its pricing.

The government has also taken measures to incentivise farmers to sell the largest possible amounts of wheat to the government during the local wheat supply season, which starts at the end of March.

On Wednesday, the cabinet granted wheat farmers an incentive of an additional EGP 65 for each ardeb (1 ardeb is equivalent to 150kg) to encourage them to increase the quantities they sell to the supply ministry.

The president has also instructed the government to provide low-priced food commodities and distribute cartons of food supplies ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, which starts in early April and is typically accompanied by increased rates of food consumption.

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