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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Egypt's fuel subsidy spending more than doubles

But June hikes by up to 50 per cent should reduce bill this year

A Co-Op Petroleum Company petrol station in downtown Cairo. Fuel subsidy spending soared in the year to June. Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters
A Co-Op Petroleum Company petrol station in downtown Cairo. Fuel subsidy spending soared in the year to June. Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters

Egypt's fuel subsidy spending more than doubled during the 2016-17 financial year that ended in June, hitting 120 billion Egyptian pounds (DH24.83bn) from about 51bn pounds a year earlier, the minister of petroleum Tarek El Molla said on Tuesday.

In June, Egypt hiked fuel prices by up to 50 per cent as part of subsidy cuts in line with a $12bn three-year IMF loan programme it agreed last November.

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Egypt's efforts to cut back on subsidies could help the economy soar as well as its poor

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Those cuts are expected to bring this year's fuel subsidy bill down to about 110bn pounds as the government looks to tighten its finances and narrow its budget deficit to about 9.1 per cent of GDP from about 10.5 per cent last year.

Government officials say spending cuts will help revive an economy where subsidies have accounted for about a quarter of state expenditures.

But the austerity measures and the country's pound flotation last November, which about halved the currency's value, have pushed inflation to above 30 percent and eaten into consumers' ability to spend.

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