“No further fuel price increase in 2018,” says oil minister
Egypt’s Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Tarek El-Molla denied late on Friday any reports that further increases in fuel prices would be implemented during the current year.
“There will be no hike in fuel prices in Egypt during this year,” says Egypt’s Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Tarek El-Molla late Friday in a phone call on the privately owned El-Mehwar channel, a few weeks after the country announced fuel subsidy cuts.
Over the past few weeks, Egypt announced the partial lifting of subsidies on electricity and fuel as part of the government’s ongoing economic reform programme, which was first launched in 2014 and has helped the country secure a $12 billion loan package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Since the announcement, fares for public transport have soared.
El-Molla said last week that the price surge, which is the third since Egypt floated its currency in November 2016, will help Egypt save up to 50 billion pounds in funds allocated for state subsidies in the 2018/19 budget.
The minister added that after last week’s partial lifting of subsidies, the government still subsidises around 25 percent of the price of fuel. The new price hike will also reduce the funds allocated for fuel subsidies to 89 billion pounds from 139 billion pounds, according to El-Molla.
The fuel subsidy cuts are part of the economic reform package adopted in July 2014 that aimed to ease the country’s growing budget deficit, with a five-year plan created to gradually scrap fuel subsidies by 2019.
The IMF-supported reform programme has included the liberalisation of the country’s currency in November 2016, as well as the implementation of value added tax (VAT).
The IMF said following its third review last month that Egypt remains committed to continuing energy subsidy reforms to achieve cost-recovery prices for most fuel products within 2019.
More than 85 percent of the economic reform roadmap has been implemented so far, Finance Minister Mohamed Moeet told Al-Ahram Daily in an exclusive interview published on Monday.
Source: Ahram Online