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Egypt's doubled rations no cause for celebration as prices set to soar

The Egyptian government has doubled rations for millions of citizens even as the new budget outlines a plan to reduce and eventually eliminate subsidies altogether.
A man holds his smart card and some coins at a bakery in the Suez Canal city of Port Said, 170 km (106 miles) northeast of Cairo, February 24, 2014. A device resembling a credit card swiper is revolutionizing some of Egypt's politically explosive bread lines and may help achieve the impossible -- cutting crippling food import bills. Authorities who hope to avoid protests over subsidised loaves sold for the equivalent of one U.S. cent have turned to smart cards to try to manage the corrupt and wasteful bread
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CAIRO — President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a decision June 20 increasing individual monthly ration allocations from 21 Egyptian pounds ($1.16) to 50 ($2.80). Until 2017, 71 million people used government subsidy cards to buy food staples, Egyptian Minister of Supply Ali Moselhi said in a press statement in March.

The move comes at the same time that Egypt is working to meet economic reforms stipulated in the terms of a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). On July 14, the IMF announced that it had approved releasing $1.25 billion to Cairo as the final installment of the second portion of the overall loan.

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