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Egypt Announces Price Controls on Unsubsidised Bread to Tackle Price Increases

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi directed the government on Tuesday to enforce price controls on unsubsidized bread nationwide in an effort to curb recent price hikes, Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said.

According to Rady, Sisi instructed the ministry of supply and internal trade to supply bakeries with enough flour to limit any hikes in bread prices expected and also entrusted the civilian police to ensure that the price controls are enforced on the ground.

The directives were given by the president during a meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Interior Minister Mahmoud Tawfik, Supply and Internal Trade Minister Ali Moselhi, and GIS coordinator Abbas Kamel.

Due to an increase in global wheat prices caused by the Russia-Ukraine war, the price of unsubsidised bread in Egypt has shot up by nearly 50% over the past week.

There has been an increase of 48 percent in wheat prices globally, 32 percent in cooking oil, 30 percent in corn, 7 percent in sugar, 11 percent in frozen meat, 10 percent in poultry, and 55 percent in petroleum. Nevertheless, wheat and cooking oil prices in Egypt have increased by only 17 percent and 10 percent, respectively, according to the PM’s remarks last week.

Head of the Bakeries Division of the Cairo Chamber of Commerce Attia Hamad told the media earlier in March that the market price of a tonne of flour has risen to 11,000 EGP from 9,000 in February.

The Ukraine crisis has also caused a price hike in many strategic goods and commodities in Egypt, including meat and poultry.

However, the price of subsidised bread remains unchanged at 5 piastres.

The government said it would implement the step without adversely impacting marginalized groups when El-Sisi ordered the government to study raising the price of subsidised bread last year.

A presidential order has been issued to coordinate the distribution of food supplies and low-cost food commodities ahead of Ramadan in early April.

MoSelhi affirmed sufficient supplies of all basic commodities for citizens. El-Sisi ordered to increase stocks of basic commodities for the next six months.

El-Sisi’s directives come less than a day after the Egyptian cabinet announced it would introduce a new mechanism to control markets amid a spike in unsubsidised bread prices.

In light of the disruption in supply lines caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Arab Spring, Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, announces it is working to diversify its wheat import sources.

Additionally, the state has taken steps to encourage farmers to sell to the government the largest possible amount of wheat during the April wheat supply season.

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