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Egypt reforms food subsidy system by first kicking out the rich

Almost 78% of Egypt's 92 million citizens receive government subsidies, but officials hope to pare down those swollen ranks by weeding out those who do not actually qualify.
A worker sells subsidized food commodities at a government-run supermarket in Cairo, Egypt, February 14, 2016. Tens of millions of Egyptians rely on state subsidies provided as credits on smartcards they redeem against household staples each month. But in recent weeks, imported commodities like cooking oil have been in short supply as a dollar shortage makes it harder for state importers to secure regular supplies. Picture taken February 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany - RTX27KYO

Egypt is reviewing long lists of beneficiaries in its food subsidy program, planning to cut those who do not qualify and fixing a broken-down system that has incurred huge losses for decades.

In press remarks April 5, Minister of Supply Ali al-Meselhi estimated that culling those who do not qualify will cut the ranks of food subsidy recipients by 10%. The government, which began the revision this month, gave subsidy card holders a two-month deadline to update their personal information at registration offices.

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