Current wheat stocks will be sufficient until 5 March 2014, as 2.3 million tonnes of wheat were purchased from different origins at a price that is cheaper than the one set three years ago, said Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Mohamed Abu Shady in a press conference on Saturday.
According to a press release from the ministry, Abu Shady denied rumours of reducing the shares of wheat supplied to bread bakeries in Giza and affirmed that bread prices and monthly individual shares have not changed.
The government was forced to import 80,000 tonnes of wheat earlier in September to meet the shortage witnessed in strategic stock during that period.
Abu Shady stated earlier in September that the former President Mohamed Morsi administration halted wheat imports based on “false and misleading” data regarding local rates of production.
Former Minister of Supply Bassem Auda decided in February to rely on the country’s domestic harvest instead of importing wheat. Some analysts attributed this to the lack of foreign reserves at that time.
Abu Shady told the Daily News Egypt in November that the government is planning to issue a tender to purchase 200,000 tonnes of wheat: “The time when the tender will be issued depends on the prices and market,” he said.
Egypt imports wheat from a number of nations, including the United States, Russia, Romania, Canada, France and Argentina. The country consumes around 750,000 tonnes of wheat per month, according to Chairman of the South Cairo Mills Naguib Metwally.
The minister also discussed the issues pertaining to compulsory prices, shortages in butane gas cylinders and subsidised food products during the press conference.
Abu Shady denied decreasing subsidised shares of cooking oil per person to 925 grams from 1.5 kilograms.
He added that several experiments have been made to improve the quality of “partially subsidised” bread in order to provide citizens with different types of bread at affordable prices.
The minister also stated that a plan to distribute coupons for butane gas cylinders to supply dealers is currently being considered for implementation at the beginning of next year. He added that refraining from doing so would be a “waste of public money”.
Recently, Egypt witnessed a nationwide shortage in cooking gas cylinders earlier in November, which Abu Shady attributed to a delay in shipments of butane gas due to inclement weather.
Abu Shady said that compulsory prices aided in market regulation, adding that 2,000 complaints have been filed nationwide against suppliers who have violated this policy.
The economic ministerial group headed by Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi agreed in September to impose compulsory commodities prices, which they say merchants overestimate.