No access to subsidised fuel without smart cards: Official

Ahram Online , Sunday 10 May 2015

The new system regulating fuel consumption will be enforced in mid-June

People jostle for a fuel dispenser nozzle as a worker fills the tank of a car at a petrol station in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptians who do not acquire fuel smart cards will not be able to obtain subsidised fuel from petrol stations from 15 June, announced Amr Badawi, the deputy minister of finance, on Sunday.

The introduction of unlimited smart cards aim to curb fuel smuggling, Badawi said, adding that once the market is regulated the subsidies will reach those in need and will eventually solve the budget deficit.

All distribution companies are obliged to request smart cards from both public and private vehicles, he said adding that tuk-tuks, or rickshaws, and agricultural machinery and vehicles will soon be included in the new system.

The smart card system, postponed several times since 2013, is part of a long-term plan to cut state fuel subsidies which account for 13 percent of government spending in this year's budget.

The government raised fuel prices by 78 percent last year, reducing subsidies by up to LE44 billion, as the cabinet sought to reduce its budget deficit to 10 percent of the GDP, down from 12.8 percent in the previous year.

Smart cards can be obtained without charge at Traffic Administration buildings located nationwide, or ordered via the internet or a telephone number and delivered, for which there is a charge.

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