Egyptian President Abdel Fatta el-Sisi speaks during a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Michotakis at the Maximos residence in Athens, Greece, on November 11, 2020. Athens | Reuters Yonhap News
Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced that he would raise the price of bread, the staple food of the common people, for the first time in 44 years.
Foreign media, including the Associated Press and Reuters, reported on the 3rd (local time) that President Al-Sisi said this while visiting the food industry complex, which started operations on the 3rd (local time), citing the local media daily Al-Ahram.
President El Sisi said, “The price of bread, which is subsidized by the government, has not changed over the past 20 or 30 years. “It’s surprising that 20 loaves of bread are sold for the price of a cigarette,” he said. “The increase in bread prices will help cover the cost of meals provided to students,” he added.
The staple food of the Egyptians is a flat, hollow bread called ballady. You can buy this bread for 0.05 Egyptian pounds (about 3.7 won), which is much cheaper than market price in stores run by government subsidies. More than 60 million of Egypt’s more than 100 million people can buy five subsidized breads a day.
It is the first time the Egyptian government has attempted to raise the price of bread since 1977, when Anwar Sadat was in office. At the time, the Egyptian government agreed to raise prices for key foodstuffs, including bread, as a measure of austerity in bailout negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). But as tens of thousands of Egyptians protested and caused a ‘bread riot’ on the streets, the attempt to raise the price of bread was thwarted. The Egyptian government gradually cut government subsidies for food in the 1980s and 1990s, but did not directly increase the price of bread, but only adjusted the weight of the bread.
The El Sisi government, which received bailouts of US$12 billion (13.755.6 billion won) and US$5.2 billion (5.95 trillion won) from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2016 and last year, also promised austerity measures. The government has gradually reduced government subsidies and prices have risen accordingly.
Egyptian citizens are increasingly dissatisfied with the reduction of subsidies amid worsening economic conditions, such as a cut in tourists due to COVID-19. On Twitter, more than 4,000 posts with the hashtag ‘Exclude bread from (increasing prices)’ were posted the afternoon of the previous day.
Egypt allocated 87.8 billion Egyptian pounds (about 6.426 trillion won) in its budget for the fiscal year 2021-2022 for raw material supply and farmer support subsidies, of which 44.8 billion Egyptian pounds (about 3.27 trillion won) were allocated to bread subsidies. are caught The Egyptian government prepared a subsidy budget with an expected wheat purchase price of $255 (292,255 won) per ton for this fiscal year. 5748 won) was exceeded.
“Changing the food aid system in the world’s largest wheat importer is a very sensitive matter,” Reuters said.