Bread to cost more in Egypt as govt decides to slash subsidy

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  • Subsidized bread costs currently 0.05 Egyptian pounds ($0.0032) and 60 million people are allocated five loaves a day under its sprawling subsidy program

  • It is not clear how much the price would increase by

Egypt has decided to withdraw subsidy from bread that will make it dearer for a people who have relied on government-subsidized bread for decades. It is not clear how much the price would go up by.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said  it is time for the country’s subsidized bread to increase in price. Subsidized bread costs currently 0.05 Egyptian pounds ($0.0032) and 60 million people are allocated five loaves a day under its sprawling subsidy program.

Sisi did not say how much the price would increase by, but changes to food support are highly sensitive in a country where a decision to cut bread subsidies led to deadly riots across Egypt in 1977.

“It is time for the 5 piaster loaf to increase in price. Some might tell me leave this to the prime minister, to the supply minister to (raise the price), but no, I will do it in front of my country and my people,” Sisi said.

“It’s incredible to sell 20 loaves for the price of a cigarette,” he added, speaking at the opening of a food production facility.

Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer.

“I’m not saying we make it significantly more expensive, to as high as it costs to make it, 65 or 60 piasters, but (increasing the price) is necessary,” Sisi said.

“Nothing stays stagnant like this for 20 or 30 years, with people saying that this number can’t be touched,” he added.

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