Under a new Ministry of Supply plan, citizens registered on ration cards will receive 150 loaves of bread per month at the price of 5 piastres per the loaf, Minister of Supply and Domestic Trade Khaled Hanafy announced Sunday.
The plan, which will also apply to the Egyptian Wholesale Company and the Food Industries Holding Company (FIHC), aims to “develop the consumer complexes to offer discounted foods and necessary commodities”, Hanafy said in a statement.
The ministry announced late Saturday that it would take over supervision of the FIHC from the Ministry of Investment to better face the “rising prices”.
Hanafy said the new plan “preserves the humanity and dignity” of citizens while maintaining the profits of the bakeries’ owners and the values of subsidised bread.
Commodities will be offered with a 15% to 20% discounts to keep the market prices “at balance for the low-income citizen”, he said.
On Sunday, the minister also inaugurated a new automated bakery in Port Said. The bakery production capacity is 8,000 bread loafs/hour and will serve three areas in the Port Said Governorate.
The minister also met with several representatives from the European Union to discuss using European expertise and technologies to develop Egyptian bakeries, according to the statement.
Last month the supply minister dubbed the bread distribution system in Egypt a “failure”, saying it has wasted between 20% and 25% of the state’s bread subsidies budget.
The state’s budget for subsidised bread is EGP 22bn a year.
In an attempt to “lessen the burden on citizens”, the Egyptian cabinet announced on 9 April a serious of discounts for food products. The discounts, which started on 5 April, will end 15 April, however.
The annual inflation rate registered at 10.2% in March, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) highlighted in a different statement that the month on month increase of the core Consumer Price Index (CPI) registered 0.7% in March compared to 1.02% in February.
According to a report issued on 11 April by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), “inflation has been structurally high and has risen over the past year as a result of pass-through from exchange rate depreciation, money expansion, supply shortages and recurrent wage increases”.