In a press conference held following the weekly cabinet meeting at the New Administrative Capital, PM Madbouly stated that there are many people in Egypt who do not need subsidies and yet still receive them, and that previous cabinets did not revise the subsidy support system.
“A lot of wasted money was injected into the subsidy system, however, when the state saved this money, it managed to inject it into big projects that citizens can benefit from,” Madbouly told reporters.
“Four years ago, the state used to pay EGP 128 billion in fuel subsidies at the expense of many other things, but now, fuel subsidies are down to EGP 17 billion only, and the difference was used to implement large investment projects that all citizens can benefit from,” he added.
Madbouly’s statements on the subsidy system came after President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi directed the government on Wednesday to stop issuing new ration cards and limit the number of beneficiaries to two family members per card to reduce costs and save up towards long-overdue development projects.
Under the current 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.
Food subsidies cost the government a total of EGP 87 billion in the FY2021/2022 budget, according to recent statements by the Minister of Supply and Internal Trade.
Madbouly also stated that overpopulation was a huge challenge for the government, as it nullifies any growth the state achieves.
“If the population growth rate remains fixed for only ten years, things will be completely different,” he said.
This year, Egypt’s population increased by 750,000 in just 160 days, reaching 102,750,000 on 13 December.