Minister of Supply Mohamed Abu Shady inaugurated on Saturday a food market in Cairo, which will offer food and commodities at discounts ranging from 15% to 25% off, according to a statement from the ministry.
Abu Shady stated that this initiative falls in line with the government’s commitment to supply citizens with high-quality food products at low prices “to support their incomes”, noting that this comes in preparation for Copts’ feasts and New Year festivities.
The market, which was organised in coordination with Ministry of Investment and the Holding Company of Food Industries, will sell vegetables, fruits, meats and legumes.
Many private sector markets showed willingness to participate in the price reduction initiative, Abu Shady said.
“The ministry plans in the coming months to expand in the discounted sale of vegetables, fruits and legumes to all governorates,” Abu Shady noted.
In cooperation with the Armed Forces and Ministry of Agriculture, the supply ministry dispatched trucks earlier in November to sell commodities at reduced prices throughout Cairo in order to “curb price increases and alleviate burdens on low-income citizens”.
Abu Shady stated that these trucks, which now have reached 30 in number, will move to different locations every week.
The government decided in September to impose price ceilings on fruits and vegetables, prices on which, it claims, merchants often overstate. The cabinet gave a grace period of a week for these prices to return to normal.
The compulsory prices vary every week and take effect on Saturdays. Inspectors tasked with ensuring that commodities continue to be sold at reduced prices, providing additional quantities of commodities in case of depletion and answer citizen complaints.
Penalties for those who violate the set prices and commit commercial frauds include imprisonment from one to five years and a fine from EGP 1,000 to 5,000, according to Abu Shady.
Egypt’s annual urban consumer inflation rate increased to 13% per year in November, up from October’s 10.4%–its highest level since 2010, Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAMPAS) said on 10 December.
Meanwhile, the overall consumer price index (CPI) in November increased 0.9% from October, while the annual total inflation rate reached 14.2% compared to November 2012.
Food markets have been plagued by uncontrollable prices shifts since the 25 January Revolution. According to a report published by the CAPMAS, Egyptians spend 48% of their income on food goods.