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Questions surround Egypt's plan to scrap subsidies for cash transfers

Egyptian officials hope direct cash payments to the poor will be more efficient than current subsidies, but an economist wonders whether the nation has the necessary database for such a project to work.
Egyptians push to buy subsidized sugar from a government truck after a sugar shortage in retail stores across the country in Cairo, Egypt, October 14, 2016. Picture taken October 14, 2016.  REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh - RTX2PENP

The Egyptian government is planning to roll out an ambitious plan to replace subsidies with direct cash payments in an attempt to eliminate graft and give subsidies only to those who deserve them.

Two weeks ago, Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said the government “is moving in the direction of replacing subsidies with cash transfers in the coming period.” Economists say that the move — if implemented — would help fix a broken-down system for the delivery of subsidies, which has incurred huge losses for the government.

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