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Égypt-actus
revue de presse sur l'actualité culturelle, archéologique, politique et sociale de l'Égypte
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Egyptian anger at bread subsidy plans

Egyptian anger at bread subsidy plans | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

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Egyptian bakers have been voicing their anger at planned changes to the government-controlled bread subsidy system.

Millions of Egyptians rely on cheap bread, but at a time of economic hardship the government says it could save US $1.6bn a year by reforming the scheme.

Yassmen Abo Khadra reports from Cairo.

 

BBC News

 

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Egypt government targets bread subsidies

With around 40 percent of the people in Egypt living on $2 a day or less, cheap bread is a social subsidy this country still cannot function without. 

There are many people in Egypt who do live on bread alone some days and very little more. Egypt's economy, post-revolution, is in deep trouble, as prices for all the basics are up; fuel and food. Unemployment is rising, and so is poverty. 

The Egyptian government is running out of money, so it is seeking a loan from the International Monetary Fund, and it wants to make cuts, including rationing public bread and cutting and changing payments to those who make it. 

Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught reports from Cairo.

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Pain : Discorde sur la farine

Pain : Discorde sur la farine | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Les propriétaires de boulangeries de pain subventionné ont manifesté plusieurs fois ces deux dernières semaines pour contester un plan gouvernemental visant à libéraliser les prix de la farine. Le ministère a, en effet, annoncé le 14 mars un plan de libéralisation des prix de la farine servant à produire le pain subventionné. L’idée du gouvernement est de subventionner le produit final, soit la galette de pain, au lieu de subventionner la farine qui sera vendue aux boulangeries au prix du marché. Ce qui devrait faire passer de 16 à 286 L.E. le prix du sac de farine de 100 kg vendu aux boulangeries. Le gouvernement devra ensuite acheter les galettes à 34 piastres l’unité pour les vendre aux citoyens au prix d’aujourd’hui, soit 5 piastres.

Les boulangeries ne contestent pas le plan en soi, mais rejettent le prix de production fixé par le gouvernement. Selon les calculs du ministère de l’Approvisionnement, le coût de production de 1 050 galettes de pain produites avec 100 kg de farine est de 80 L.E. alors que les boulangeries affirment qu’il est de 120 L.E., et exigent 40 piastres par galette au lieu de 34. « Nous sommes d’accord avec le principe de libéralisation de production du pain, nous avons même plaidé longtemps pour l’adoption de ce système ... mais pas dans ces conditions ! Avec les prix que le gouvernement impose, les boulangeries vont accumuler les pertes », déclare Abdallah Ghorab, à la tête de la division des propriétaires des boulangeries auprès de l’Union égyptienne des Chambres de commerce.

Les propriétaires de boulangeries rappellent que la pénurie de gasoil qui frappe le pays depuis près de 2 mois a affecté le coût de production, puisqu’il est subventionné et vendu sur le marché noir à quelque 40, voire 50 L.E. le jerrican de 20 litres contre 22 L.E. officiellement.

 

Marwa Hussein / Al-Ahram Hebdo

Plus : http://hebdo.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/967/3/131/2125/Pain--Discorde-sur-la-farine.aspx

 


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Egypt bread protests begin after rationing announced

Egypt bread protests begin after rationing announced | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Hundreds of Egyptian bakers blocked roads in Cairo on Tuesday in reaction to a government plan to ration bread.(....)

The plan will begin “after two months” in Port Said and Port Fouad, according to Reuters.

GlobalPost's senior correspondent in Egypt, Erin Cunningham, says that tampering with subsidized bread is "perhaps the most politically risky of measures" Egypt could use to address its budget deficit.

As recently as 2008, rumors that state subsidies on bread would be lifted prompted protests and clashes across the country, in which several Egyptians died.

 

More on: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/egypt/130320/cairo-egypt-bread-protests-rationing-fuel-shortage

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Egypt warns bakers against strike action

Egypt warns bakers against strike action | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it
Egypt-actus's insight:

Egyptian bakers will face legal action if they carry out a threat to strike, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Bassem Ouda said, raising the stakes in a dispute linked to state bread subsidies.

The prospect of a bakers' strike has compounded a sense of economic crisis in a country where a drop in foreign currency reserves has already caused fuel shortages and raised the potential for more social unrest.

Ouda told Egypt state TV that a Supreme Constitutional Court ruling gave the ministry the power to close indefinitely bakeries that halt production and refer their owners to the criminal court.

(Reuters, via Aswat Masriya)


More : http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=8c9c59ad-459d-48c1-8b06-dd5f45894e5a

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Bakery owners storm Supply Ministry

Hundreds of bakery owners stormed the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade building on Qasr al-Ain Street downtown Cairo demanding to meet with the minister Bassem Kamal.

 

Protestors came from several governorates, including Giza, Cairo, Alexandria, Monufiya and Qalyubiya. They chanted “Bassem Kamal is a failure,” “Bread, freedom, we are not thieves,” and “the Brotherhood’s loaf [of bread] is void and the elections’ loaf is void.”

 

Ministry security negotiated with the protesters, convince them to stay out of the ministry building, as the leading officials were not present but had travelled to Sohag accompanying the president on his visit to the governorate.

 

Protesters retreated after a few verbal altercations with the officers. They continued their protest in front of the ministry headquarters, and blocked off one side of Qasr al-Aini Street causing traffic delays.

 

 

 

Late last month, bakery owners postponed a strike. State bakeries nationwide are angry over the increasing cost of diesel fuel, unpaid bonuses and plans to lift grain as well as plans to lift flour subsidies.


Almasry Alyoum, via Egypt.com

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News Analysis: Egypt's decision to free flour prices faces obstacles in application

News Analysis: Egypt's decision to free flour prices faces obstacles in application | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Egypt's decision to free the flour prices is a daring step to combat trading in the black market, but the move, re-enacting an old policy, may look better on paper than in application.

Despite a failure in 2006, the Egyptian government is confident that a comeback of the measure will eventually encourage bakeries' to produce more bread, a daily staple food for Egyptians, instead of selling subsidized flour in the black market for profit.

Most notably, Minister of Supply and Domestic Trade, Bassem Ouda, asserted that the new system will bring the government huge revenues, deliver the subsidies to those who deserve them, and prevent squandering of the public fund.

Ahmed Khorshid, a member of Bread Developing Committee, deemed the system as an urgent step aiming at getting rid of the black market and regulating sales, while noting its work will take time like any new system would.

He also pointed out that citizens' awareness is vital to the successful implementation of this measure, particularly the bakery owners' willingness to accept it.

This policy will not affect "honest bakery owners" as it targets those who sell state-subsidized flour in the black market, Khorshid told Xinhua.

 

According to Attyah Hamad, vice president of the Bakery Branch in the Commerce Chamber, the governmental inspectors had found some bakery owners selling subsidized flour sacks (70 kg) for 14. 81 U.S. dollars while getting it from the government for 2.37 dollars.

 

However, Abdullah Ghorab, president of the chamber, expressed sympathy with the bakery owners. He said the flour black market is not a phenomenon that only exists in Egypt, and that Egyptian bakery owners are going to have a hard time under the new policy.(...)

 

More on: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-03/15/c_124460669.htm

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Bakers threaten strike if govt doesn't shelve new bread subsidy plan

Bakers threaten strike if govt doesn't shelve new bread subsidy plan | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Bakeries across the nation have threatened to shut down if the government doesn't reconsider a new subsidization system for bread products.

Ministery of Supply and Internal Trade Bassem Ouda proposed the new system, which he says would save the state LE11 billion a year by subsidizing only final bread products, not the costs of grain and flour, thus preventing the sale of raw ingrediants on the black market.

The head of the General Divison of Bakeries of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FECC), Attia Hammad, threatened a nationwide bakers' strike if the government doesn't back down.

"We are mediating to resolve the problem," asserted FECC head Ahmed al-Wakil, adding that he was confident that the state was keen to ensure the continued production of bread products.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm (Egypt independent)

http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/bakers-threaten-strike-if-govt-doesn-t-shelve-new-bread-subsidy-plan

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Bread rations: Three loaves per capita

Bread rations: Three loaves per capita | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Bassem Auda said that determining bread rations per capita will only be a trial phase.

In a press conference held at the ministry’s headquarters on Saturday, Auda stated that the ration per capita would be determined according to the consumption of each governorate, reported state-owned news agency MENA.

Auda stated that the ministry is currently trying to achieve a set of four goals, reported MENA.

 

More : http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2013/02/10/bread-rations-three-loaves-per-capita/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DailyNewsEgypt+%28Daily+News+Egypt%29

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Francoise Autier's comment, February 10, 2013 12:39 PM
ca va etre la faim de la fin !!!! :(
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Bakery owners decry new system

Bakery owners decry new system | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Bread shortages are not new to Egypt, with the most acute crisis of the not-so-distant past occurring in 2008. Since then, shortages of the vital food supply have been recurring, and, at times, the army has been deployed to deliver the gap in supply. (...)

Subsidized bread is priced at 5 piasters, and is a staple food item for the country’s lower- and middle-class citizens. At times of crisis, this segment, which represents 80 percent of the population, suffers endless queues and fatal fights over bread.

Often, the government has blamed the supply shortages on black market bread sales, as well as the smuggling of flour and wheat, blaming bakery owners and accusing them of profiteering.

In what the ministry is selling as a bid to curb black market sales and ensure that subsidies reach target beneficiaries, a new policy has been created, whereby subsidies on key ingredients have been lifted, thus removing incentives for bakers to trade them on the black market. Private bakeries are being asked to sign on to the new contracts.

But it has been a hard sell. On 19 March, hundreds of bakery owners stormed the Supply and Internal Trade Ministry in downtown Cairo, protesting the new policy, as well as the rise in prices of gasoline, diesel and flour. Their most significant complaint is the raising of the cost of production of one sack of flour from LE80 to LE120.

They say the government, the sole supplier of wheat and other ingredients used in bread making, is looking to lay the burden of lifting subsidies on bakers, as well as failing to consider the actual production cost.


Omar Halawa / Egypt independent

More : http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/bakery-owners-decry-new-system


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Egypt targets bread subsidies

Egypt targets bread subsidies | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

VIDEO

 

With around 40 percent of the people in Egypt living on $2 a day or less, cheap bread is a social subsidy this country still cannot function without.

There are many people in Egypt who do live on bread alone some days and very little more.

Egypt's economy after the revolution has fallen into deep trouble, as prices for all the basics are up and unemployment is rising, so is poverty.

The Egyptian government is running out of money, seeking a loan from the International Monetary Fund, and planning to make cuts, including rationing public bread.

Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught reports from Cairo.

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Egypt bread protests begin after rationing announced

Egypt bread protests begin after rationing announced | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Hundreds of Egyptian bakers blocked roads in Cairo on Tuesday in reaction to a government plan to ration bread.

They descended on the Supply Ministry to protest diesel shortages and rising fuel and flour prices, the Egypt Independent said.

Bakers are under increased pressure with rising costs and shortages while trying to survive under Egypt’s long-held policy of subsidizing bread and fuel prices.

Global Post

More : http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/egypt/130320/cairo-egypt-bread-protests-rationing-fuel-shortage?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=t.co

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Egypt to ration subsidised bread

Egypt to ration subsidised bread | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it
Egypt-actus's insight:

(Reuters, via Aswat Masriya)

 

Egypt will start rationing subsidised bread and cooking gas using smart cards after two months, the country's minister of supplies said on Tuesday in comments to the state news agency.

Minister Bassem Ouda said the government would begin implementing the system on a trial basis in the cities of Port Fouad and Port Said.

 

http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=7717211c-84fa-43f4-8c83-749faf290eb4

 

***********************

(Reuters) - L'Egypte prévoit d'introduire des cartes de rationnement du pain et du gaz domestique dont les prix sont subventionnés dans un délai de deux mois, a annoncé le ministre égyptien de l'Approvisionnement, mardi.

Bassem Ouda a précisé à l'agence de presse officielle Mena, que le gouvernement va mettre en oeuvre cette mesure à titre expérimental dans deux villes, Port Fouad et Port Saïd. (Asma Sharif, Pierre Sérisier pour le service français)

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Egypt warns bakers against strike action

Egypt warns bakers against strike action | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Egyptian bakers will face legal action if they carry out a threat to strike, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Bassem Ouda said, raising the stakes in a dispute linked to state bread subsidies.

The prospect of a bakers' strike has compounded a sense of economic crisis in a country where a drop in foreign currency reserves has already caused fuel shortages and raised the potential for more social unrest.

Ouda told Egypt state TV that a Supreme Constitutional Court ruling gave the ministry the power to close indefinitely bakeries that halt production and refer their owners to the criminal court.

"If it happens that they undertake this type of irresponsible step and halt production in 100 or 1,000 bakeries, we are ready with an emergency plan," Ouda said on Monday.

The state has long helped fund bread production, with the cheapest loaves selling for 5 piastres, or less than 1 U.S. cent

Bakers say the government owes them 400 million Egyptian pounds ($59 million) in incentives they are due for producing state-subsidised bread for the poor. Neither the government spokesman nor officials at the supplies ministry were available to comment on the bakers' claims.

The government, which is seeking a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, is under pressure to curb spending on food and fuel subsidies that swallow up around a quarter of the state budget.

A bakers' association representing 25,000 privately run bakeries had threatened to strike last month, but postponed the move until mid-March to give the government time to meet their demands.

Bakers' representatives are due to meet Ouda on Tuesday, said Abdullah Ghorab, the association's head. About 260 bakeries briefly went on strike last week but were persuaded to return to work pending more talks, he said.

 

More on: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2013/3/19/worldupdates/egypt-warns-bakers-against-strike-action&sec=Worldupdates

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Egypt to overhaul subsidized bread system

Egypt to overhaul subsidized bread system | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

The Egyptian Ministry of Supply is preparing to introduce a new system to distribute subsidised bread to those who need it using national identification (ID) numbers.

A trial run is expected to begin in al-Fayoum province, and will be rolled out to the rest of the country after technical and logistical problems are identified and resolved, officials told Al-Shorfa.

Subsidised bread is currently rationed at 20 loaves per family per day at a cost of one Egyptian pound ($0.14). Non-subsidized bread is available at bakeries for 50 piasters ($0.07) per loaf.

"My family members and I take turns, depending on who is free, to stand in line for subsidised bread each day starting in the early morning hours," said Tawfiq Nagy, who heads a family of six.

"If we're late getting in line, we might miss out on getting our bread ration," he told Al-Shorfa.

When that happens, Nagy buys bread from unsubsidised bakeries, adding that "private bakery bread is bigger and of higher quality".

Nagy believes the subsidised bread distribution system needs to be regulated, as "neither the distribution mechanism is good nor is the quality of the bread acceptable".

Distribution based on the national ID number would prevent bakery owners or any other party that wishes to trade in subsidised bread from exploiting the system, he said.

The plan aims to eliminate waste and attempts by some bakery owners to sell bread on the black market, said Saleh Jaber, development advisor at the bakeries monitoring room at the Ministry of Supply.

This leads to low quality bread on the one hand, and a shortage in supply on the other, he said, forcing people to "buy bread from tourist bakeries, whose prices exceed their purchasing power".

 (Waleed Abu al-Khair / Al-Shorfa)
More : http://al-shorfa.com/en_GB/articles/meii/features/2013/03/15/feature-03
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Egypt bakers threaten strike over payments

Egypt bakers threaten strike over payments | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it
Egyptian bakers are threatening strike action unless the government meets demands including back-payment of financial incentives, raising the prospect of fresh unrest in the crisis-ridden north African country.

Abdullah Ghorab, head of the bakers' association which represents 25,000 private bakeries across the country, said imminent strike action has been postponed following a meeting with the government. The association gave the government 15 days to meet its demands.Any shortage of bread in Egypt would likely touch off unrest as the government grapples with an economic crisis rooted in two years of political turmoil. The heavily-indebted state faces a deficit that will hit 12.3 percent of GDP in the year to the end of June unless economic reforms are implemented.
 A country of 84 million, Egypt is the biggest importer of wheat in the world. The state has long subsidised bread production, with the cheapest loaves selling for 5 piastres, or less than 1 US cent.(...)Ghorab said the 25,000 privately-run bakeries represented in his association include 19,000 that produce 5-piastre loaves, and 6,000 more that produce 20 piastre loaves. The state operates another 107 bakeries, he added. Ghorab said the government owed bakeries 400 million Egyptian pounds ($59.34 million) in payments dating back six months. The payments cover an incentive paid to bakers to produce low-price loaves and an extra subsidy to cover higher fuel prices. "The head of the government and the supply minister came to us and promised that within 15 days they would meet the demands of the owners of the bakeries," Ghorab said. More on: http://www.tradearabia.com/news/MISC_231522.html
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Egypt: Legal Measures Against Bakeries Which Go On Strike

Egypt: Legal Measures Against Bakeries Which Go On Strike | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Supply Minister Bassem Ouda confirmed, during a tour of a number of bakeries and gas stations in Shubra el-Kheima on 23/2/2013, that strategic goods reserve in Egypt is safe and no need to worry.

He pointed out that wheat is enough for five months. The minister warned owners of bakeries who threaten to go in strike that the ministry will take necessary legal measures in that case

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Egypt's Frightening Food Divide

Egypt's Frightening Food Divide | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Egypt’s most vulnerable households don’t have enough money to buy food, clothes and shelter.

That’s the frightening conclusion of the Egyptian Food Observatory’s latest government survey.

Of the 1680 households surveyed (and 7532 household members) in September 2012, 86% said their income was insufficient for covering total monthly needs including for food, clothes and shelter, up from 74% in June 2012.

As food prices have steadily increased over the year, income levels have remained static as the country’s fragile economic climate impacts salaries.

The knock-on affect of this has left many families adopting increasingly extreme coping strategies, the report says, the most common of which has prompted families to consumer cheaper foods and borrow food or money.

Egypt-actus's insight:

The report says:

“Consuming cheaper food items” overtook “borrowing” relative to the previous quarter, suggesting that vulnerable households are adopting more radical coping mechanisms where incomes do not suffice.

Other coping strategies adopted included; reducing food intake either by reducing food portions or the number of meals, buying on credit.

But then we reach the heart of the Egyptian food problem.

Bread and other carbohydrates make up the bulk of vulnerable households’ daily consumption.  Bread subsidies, already widely recognised as imbalanced and unequal, are contributing to this food divide.  

The report spells out the biggest flaw in the subsidy system:

All Egyptian citizens are entitled to three loaves of subsidized “Baladi” (local) bread per day.  But there is no database listing households entitled to the subsidy, and thus no control over how much bread each person can access.

Anyone can queue at bakeries licensed to produce Baladi bread andcan purchase up to 20 loaves at a time at the subsidized price of 5 piaster per loaf. Better-off Egyptians often do not take up this entitlement due to the queuing time involved and the poorer quality of subsidized to commercial bread.

In addition, the ingredients for making this bread are purchased at low or no cost from the government, but bakers charge their customers a similarly low price of 5 piaster that is barely sufficient to cover their production costs.  It has forced the creation of an unofficial black marketfor premium quality local wheat that is free of stones and contaminants. This wheat is used to produce better quality bread for commercial sale at 25 or 50 piaster per loaf, depending on the quality.

Aside from providing further evidence of how the country’s subsidy system wastes billions of dollars, this report highlights the human cost of misdirected, ill-thought-out subsidies.

(Rebel economy) 
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