Egypt to start energy subsidy restructure in July: PM

Ahram Online, Sunday 20 Apr 2014

In efforts to pare down the budget deficit, Egypt will push ahead July with subsidies restructuring while protecting poorer sectors of the population, says interim premier Ibrahim Mahlab

Egyptian Premier Ibrahim Mahleb
Egyptian Premier Ibrahim Mahleb (Photo: AP)

Egypt will start restructuring energy subsidies as of July, coinciding with the coming fiscal year 2014/15, without affecting poor or low-income segments, reported the state-owned daily newspaper Al-Ahram Sunday.

Al-Ahram quoted Interim Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab as saying that the new energy subsidy system would not touch the price of butane gas cylinders or electricity consumption charges for medium and low segments.

The government has not decided on raising petrol and fuel prices, Mahlab added.

Earlier in April, Egypt’s minister of planning and international co-operation, Ashraf Al-Arabi, told Reuters that Egypt plans to raise gas prices "very soon," declining to elaborate further.

He said the government will make a bigger push to distribute smart cards for fuel, part of a programme to cut costs for the heavily subsidised commodity by reducing so-called "leakages," or smuggling and selling of gasoline on the black market.

Egypt’s total subsidy bill registered a decline of LE9 billion ($1.2 billion) in the first eight months of FY2013/14 compared to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year, recording LE80.6 billion ($11.5 billion), of which LE50 billion ($7.1 billion) were allocated to petroleum products.

According to Mahlab, soon the government will embark on establishing a sovereign fund that will manage the state’s assets on behalf of Egyptians.

The sovereign fund’s board will also be tasked with operating the country's 174 public sector companies, Mahlab added.

Mahlab revealed to Al-Ahram that the ordinary Egyptians will be able to contribute to the capital of the fund through shares subscriptions.

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