Mahlab to discuss countering smuggling of subsidized foodstuffs
Ibrahim Mahlab, Egypt's Prime Minister - YOUM7/Ahmed Ramdan

CAIRO: Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab is scheduled to head two Monday meetings to discuss methods to counter the smuggling of government subsidized foodstuffs,  Youm7 reported Monday.

Mahlab  is also slated to meet with the Fishermen Union to hear demands of fishermen.

Egypt’s food subsidies are expected to reach 30 billion EGP ($4.31 billion) in 2014, Reuters reported Minister of Supply Khaled Hanafi as saying Sunday evening, adding that he “pledged to tackle a smuggling ‘mafia.’”

Smuggling of subsidized foodstuffs, which are sold at higher prices on the black market, costs Egypt nearly 7 Billion EGP ($ 1 billion) annually, French financial newspaper Les Échos reported Monday.

On Dec 2013, the General Department of Food Supply Investigation Police seized 28 tons of wheat and 10, 000 liters being smuggled on the black market at higher prices in Menoufia Governorate, ONA agency reported.

Minister of Supply Khaled Hanafi had told ONA agency on March 3 that foodstuffs sold in supermarkets would become available in government subsidized outlets at lower prices to suit the income of Egyptian citizens.

Hanafi had promised that prices of subsidized foodstuffs would be reduced to tackle the challenges posed by rising food prices.

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