Pakistan & Middle East's leading
Business Web Portal

News Business

Loading the player...

Arab Economic Forum takes place in Beirut

The annual Arab Economic Forum opened in a Beirut hotel on Tuesday (May 5) with Lebanese and Egyptian officials attending, including Egypt's Supplies and Internal Trade Minister Khaled Hanafi.
Hanafi said that his country, the biggest wheat importer in the world, bought about 1.6 million tonnes of local wheat since the current season began in mid-April.
"We reached around 1.6 million tonnes till now, and this number is changing daily because the supply is continuing daily. And I think the percentage of supply is higher than it was in the past," Hanafi told Reuters on the sidelines of the Arab Economic Forum.
Egypt expects to take in around 3.7 million tonnes of local wheat for some 10 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.31 billion) which will ensure it has strategic reserves until the beginning of October. The season for local wheat procurements ends in mid-July.
Hanafi said his country had reduced its wheat imports by 20 percent in the current fiscal year ending in June since it implemented a new smart card system for subsidised bread.
"We have closed this year with a 20% decrease in imported wheat because of the implementation of the new strategy for distributing bread. And we expect more decrease next year, hopefully," Hanafi said.
Egypt imported 5.46 million tonnes of wheat in the 2013-2014 fiscal year in addition to the purchase of 3.7 million tonnes of local wheat.
Egyptians now buy around five loaves of bread per person per day using the new 'smart card' system. A person can save points when not buying bread, and use them instead for grocery.
When asked if Egypt will start distributing subsidised cooking gas cylinder under the new system, Hanafi did not elaborate, but said the distribution will be based on kilograms rather than the number of gas cylinders.
"The share might be measured in kilograms, but we are still in discussion to determine this share. It might be the same share that he (the citizen) gets now, but the share will be measured in kilograms and not in cylinder. The citizen will get a cylinder but it will be measured in kilograms, and we are at the point (discussing) between 3 to 4 kilograms per citizen," he said.
A cooking gas cylinder contains 12.5 kg of gas.
Egypt has experienced winter shortages of cooking gas in the past.
There are more than 18.2 million ration cards in Egypt serving around 69 million people.

view moreEvents

view moreInterviews

view moreIslamic Finance Education