Sisi Directs Fixed Price Wheat Sale To Aid Anticipated Shortage For Egyptians
For Middle East’s most populous country Egypt, bread is a staple food. But the prices are hitting the roof as supply of wheat becomes difficult and expensive, owing to the ongoing Russian- Ukrainian war. As the country is the largest importer of the world, consuming almost 80percent of wheat, its government has now to find alternative sources to meet its population’s needs.
This week, the Egyptian president ordered his government to fix the price of unsubsidized bread, consumed by an estimated 40 million Egyptians. Currently, Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s media office has confirmed that he has asked that the supply minister to ensure bakeries have sufficient wheat flour to “streamline” the price of the free bread not covered by state subsidies and allow the ministry’s inspectors to enforce the price.
With Ramadan round the corner, the escalating prices are creating a huge financial crunch for celebrating families. Most of the eats in this festival are made out of wheat. Egyptians, like Muslims across the world, traditionally treat themselves to lavish sunset meals to end their day-long fast. Retailers take advantage of the spike in food consumption by marking up their prices. But with the government initiative of fixing the price, the exploitation at the hands of middlemen or retailers becomes a criminal offence. Already, hoarders of essential foodstuffs face a fine or jail term.
According to the new initiatives, Sisi has asked that atleast a six-month buffer stock be maintained to meet the needs of the Egyptian population. “The president has also given directions for the additional incentives to be given to [local] wheat growers to be quickly decided and announced,” a presidential statement has said. It came after a meeting between Mr El Sisi and his top aides, including Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli and the ministers of supply, defence and interior, as well as the chief of intelligence.