Egypt government to launch initiative to reduce prices of essential commodities next week

Ahram Online , Tuesday 3 Oct 2023

The Egyptian government, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), is set to announce next week an initiative aimed at reducing the prices of basic commodities, according to a Cabinet statement on Tuesday.

Cabinet meeting on prices. Cabinet.
Cabinet meeting on prices. Cabinet.


Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly discussed the step with heads of commerce chambers and industry unions, along with food companies and vendors in the country.

The meeting was also attended by Governor of the CBE Hassan Abdallah, and ministers of supply, finance, agriculture, and trade and Industry.

“We will work together to guarantee an ample supply of different goods in the Egyptian market in a way that contributes to decreasing the prices, particularly prices of food goods,” the statement quoted Mabouly as saying during the meeting.

The government, Madbouly noted, is to coordinate with the CBE to secure the US dollar required to procure goods and find solutions to reduce the prices of essential goods.

In December 2022, the Egyptian government formed a committee comprised of representatives from industry unions, commerce chambers, and the Consumer Protection Agency to set fair prices for strategic and basic commodities.

Yet, in the local market, prices of various commodities, including food staples, have been on the rise. Madbouly’s government has repeatedly blamed the issue on the Russian-Ukraine war, which disrupted the global supply chain, in addition to post-COVID-19 pandemic impacts.

Egypt’s annual headline inflation hit a record high of 39.7 percent in August, up from 38.2 percent in July.

Food and beverage prices recorded a monthly inflation rate of 2.2 percent. However, vegetable prices rose even faster, increasing 24.4 percent in August, up from 5.5 percent a month prior.

Year-on-year, food and beverage prices soared 71.9 percent. 

Housing and restaurant services have also inflated by 49.5 percent annually.

Egypt's inflation is projected to average 32.3 percent in 2023, compared to 5.2 percent and 5 percent in 2021 and 2020, respectively, the World Bank estimates. 

During the three-day Hikayat Watan conference — at which he confirmed his candidacy for a new term — President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi directed the Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali El-Moselhi to contain the current price increase.

El-Sisi urged Moselhi to look into the complaints of Egyptians on social media. 

In September, the president raised the minimum wage for public sector employees from EGP 3,500 to EGP 4,000 as part of a series of measures meant to alleviate the current financial strains on citizens.

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