By Yasmin Sameh
The Grocers Syndicate Monday met with the Ministry of Supply to air grievances and discuss ways to increase work efficiency in order to supply goods at lower prices.
Municipal bakers have worked 13 months without pay. In a meeting with Waleed Al-Sheikh, a representative from the syndicate, Minister of Supply Khaled Hanafy also promised to look into resolving the grocers’ back-owed pay, according to a statement from the ministry’s website.
Al-Sheikh also asked the ministry to adjust policy to increase the profit margin for grocers, according to a statement posted on the ministry’s website.
The government sets prices for subsidised food, such as cooking oil, sugar and bread, but, often, to make money, grocers charge more than the government recommends. The syndicate requested a decrease in the penalty for violating pricing policy.
Currently, if a grocer violates the policy, he loses two months of incentives. If the ministry receives five complaints about high prices, the grocer won’t get his or her rations. The syndicate asked to decrease the penalty for violation to one month’s worth of incentives and increase the allowance to 10 complaints.
In return, the syndicate offered to waive four months worth of debt the ministry owes the grocers. The syndicate also agreed to build a sugar packing factory under the supervision of the Ministry of Supply.
Hanafy said he would look into brokering an agreement with the companies that supply grocers with their goods for lower prices, so they could sell products at suggested price points and still make a profit.
The meeting was also attended by Medhat Al Aasar, head of the general directorate for the investigation of supply; Ahmed Yehia, chief of the nutrients division in the Egyptian Chamber of Commerce; Ahlam Roshdy, first secretary of the Ministry of Supply; Mamdouh Abdel Fattah, vice president of the Supply Commodities Authority; and Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, president of control and distribution sector at the Ministry of Supply.