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Egypt takes another whack at fuel subsidies

Egypt's draft budget for fiscal year 2019/20 includes a 42% cut in fuel subsidies, raising concerns among drivers across the country.
An employee fills up a vehicle with fuel at a CO-OP petrol station in Cairo, January 13, 2015. Picture taken January 13, 2015.      REUTERS/ Mohamed Abd El Ghany (EGYPT  - Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS COMMODITIES ENERGY BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY)   - LR2EB2A0ZWORP

Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla was quoted earlier in the year as saying that fuel subsidies would be completely lifted by 2020. The draft budget approved on March 27 by the Cabinet for fiscal year 2019/20, which begins July 1,calls for Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly's government to cut fuel subsidies by around 42% to 52 billion Egyptian pounds ($2.94 billion), down from 89 billion pounds ($5.03 billion) in the current, 2018/19 budget.

“It is a big figure, but it is no surprise as the government announced subsidy cuts three years ago,” Rashad Abdo, head of the Egyptian Forum for Economic and Strategic Studies, told Al-Monitor. “It said it would gradually lift fuel subsidies within five years. This has been well known to all. This explains why Egyptians have not demonstrated like Jordanians and Tunisians. In Jordan and Tunisia, the governments took them by surprise.”

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