Egyptians protest subsidy cuts on daily bread



Wed, 08 Mar 2017 - 08:26 GMT


Wed, 08 Mar 2017 - 08:26 GMT

Bread line - Creative Commons via flickr/James Buck

Bread line - Creative Commons via flickr/James Buck

CAIRO - 8 March 2017: Hundreds of Egyptians protested Tuesday against Minister of Supply Ali El-Sayed Ali El-Moselhi, who ordered to reduce bread subsidies on the ‘Golden Card’ system, via which thousands of Egyptians receive their daily bread.

People staged protests against the minister’s decision in Giza, Alexandria, Kafr el-Sheikh in the Nile Delta and Upper Egypt’s Minya, calling for keeping the subsidy on bread, one of Egyptians’ three main demands made known by a popular chant – “Bread, Freedom, Democracy!” – during the 2011 uprising which toppled former President Hosni Mubarak from power.

“Minister of Supply, leave!” protesters chanted outside the municipal council of Kafr el-Sheikh, calling for the removing the newly-appointed minister from his post, while others blocked the road leading to the council,

Youm7 reported


Since 2014, the Egyptian government has applied a smart-card system for subsidized bread. Each family that holds a smart card has the right to obtain five pieces of flat bread, a local dietary staple, for each family member per day. One subsidized loaf is sold for 0.05 EGP (US$0.003), while three loafs of unsubsidized bread are sold for one Egyptian pound.

Not all Egyptian families managed to subscribe to the smart card system, so former Minister of Supply Khaled Hanafi issued the system of Golden Cards. Each bakery has a golden card to sell 1,000-2,000 subsidized loafs of bread daily. Through the system, those without smart cards or who have paper vouchers can buy subsidized bread from governmental bakeries nationwide.

On Tuesday, Moseihli issued a statement to reduce the ration of subsidized bread on the golden card system to 500 loafs daily, saying the decision comes because bakeries are selling the subsidized bread to the black market.

Residents in Alexandria mobbed outside the supply offices to protest the Minister’s decision. They promised to block the roads until their demands were met, but security forces dispersed the mob after a 4-hour protest, Al-Masry Al-Youm



Alexandria Governor Moahmed Sultan said in a statement that all people who hold paper vouchers will obtain the ration they want, to ease the crisis. He added that the bakeries’ ration a\has increased again to 2,000 loafs each.

In Minya, residents of three villages, Nazlit el-Hussein, Bani Ahmed, and Damshir, demonstrated outside Minya’s Supply Directorate; they stated that they cannot afford to buy unsubsidized bread. In Giza’s al-Waraa district, people also demonstrated against the decision.

Moseihli announced in a Wednesday press conference that the crisis will end within 48 hours, denying reports claiming that the ministry seeks to reduce each person’s daily ration of subsidized bread from five to three loafs, Youm7



In November 2016, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a $12 billion loan to Egypt under specific conditions. According to the IMF loan agreements, Egyptian government shall gradually remove the subsidies on goods and change it to a cash subsidy. However, in a press conference held on Dec. 8, 2016, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said the people’s subsidized bread was “untouchable.”



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