Assistant to the finance minister and head of the Economic and Social Justice Department Sherine El-Shawarby said that public workshops are being prepared to discuss the energy subsidies problem.
She stated to Al-Borsa, “For the first time, there is consensus on the necessity of restructuring subsidies and directing its surplus to raise the services standards for either public roads or health.” She added, “We have our perceptions, which we do not want to impose on the society, and wish for the current and future governments to feel free in implementing these reforms.”
El-Shawarby asserted that the current interim government intends to reach a solution for the subsidies problem before it is replaced. The government will establish a system for future governments to cut spending on energy subsidies over years, in return for raising the quality of services, which include decent health care, education, and roads.
El-Shawarby pointed out that “the new budget will feature the results of the discussed reforms.”
She continued, “Let us agree that the Egyptian economy has suffered from inherited structural deficiencies from even before the revolutions. The deficiencies have increased due to the current developments and instability.”
She confirmed that the first stage of the system would aim to preclude the illegal trafficking of petroleum products. The system will be applied on all stations and individuals, to accurately assess consumption that has increased greatly since 2006.
El-Shawarby highlighted, “The subsidies problem is approached from different angles, based on different kinds of subsidies. For example, the energy subsidies elimination program may take five years, while the basic commodities subsidies may take longer time.”
“The government, in parallel to this system, will ensure that the sectors excluded from subsidies are not damaged,” according to Sherine El-Shawarby.
She stressed that only Egyptians are entitled to subsidies. In other words, foreigners and diplomatic missions cannot benefit from subsidies. Thus, the new system is used to control and limit these transactions.
She referred that there have been several studies undertaken by the government and international organisations, emphasising the importance of implementation.
Translated from AlBorsa Newspaper