The armed forces will be providing discounted food products and run additional bus routes to “ease the economic burden”.
Minister of Defence Sedki Sobhi issued the orders to be implemented on Monday following the recent cut in fuel subsidies, which economists say is expected to drive up the price of food by 20%. Egypt’s official statistics agency, the Central Agency for Population, Mobilisation and Statistics, estimated transportation costs would rise by 7%, although reports on Saturday indicated the actual increase amounted to a 35%-50% rise in fares.
Sobhi ordered private army outlets, “the National Service Authority and the General Services Authority” to slash food prices in bulk and for the armed forces transport authority to conduct bus routes to “facilitate the movement of citizens”.
Petroleum subsidies, which have been in place for decades, were cut to EGP 100bn for the 2014/2015 fiscal year (FY), compared to EGP 134bn for FY 2013/2014.
In a Friday cabinet statement, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb called on Egyptian citizens to “understand the challenges” and support the government in its reform efforts.
In his first month as president, Al-Sisi has moved to strengthen Egypt’s ailing economy through reforming taxes and wages, adjusting prices and cutting subsidies. Former President Mohamed Morsi implemented similar reforms in December 2012 but retracted the decision the following day.