File Photo: Egyptians push to buy subsidized sugar from a government truck after a sugar shortage in retail stores across the country in Cairo (Reuters)
Egypt's Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali El-Meselhy decided Friday to decrease the price of unsubsidised sugar to EGP10.50 per kilogramme in order to end the disparity in prices that appeared after an acute sugar shortage that started last September.
According to a statement on the ministry's website, El-Meselhy’s decision also forces retailers to write the prices of sugar on the product's packaging.
The decision also includes selling a ton of sugar to merchants at a price of EGP 9.25 per kg and a ton of sugar for industrial purposes at EGP10.50 per kg.
The statement also said that the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) will be the entity to hold tenders for importing raw sugar from international companies instead of the supply ministry. The imported raw sugar will be refined domestically.
Egypt has been facing a shortage in sugar supplies since September, as the foreign currency crisis crippled imports.
The sugar crisis eased following the country’s decision to float its currency in November as well as the supply ministry’s decision to import 120,000 tons of sugar from Brazil and France.
The subsidised sugar — distributed through ration cards — sold at a price of EGP 8 per kg.
According to supply ministry figures, 71 million people use the government's ration cards to buy essential food goods at subsidised prices.
Egypt consumes more than three million tons of sugar a year.