CAIRO: The government is expected to offer cash support ranging between 300 to 450 EGP monthly to about 216,000 poor families to help ease burdens amid a potential hike in energy prices, Shireen Al-Shawarby, the manager of the social equity unit at the Ministry of Finance, told Aswat Masriya.
“Presenting cash support for the poorest families comes within the Egyptian government’s plan to strengthen social safety and to raise the standards of living for poor families,” she said.
Shawarby said the Ministry of Finance has allocated five billion EGP in the 2014-2015 budget for cash support for poor families, pointing out that more than 1.2 million citizens will benefit from the cash supply.
The Ministry of Administrative and Local Development, the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the Ministry of Finance are working to execute the plan, along with building a database of poor people, she said. The three ministries are currently estimating poor families in 180 villages may reach a 75 percent poverty rate, she said.
Abdel Mottalib Abdel Hamid, an economics professor at the Sadat Academy for Management Sciences, told The Cairo Post that “presenting cash support for poor people is considered a vital step toward restructuring the subsidy system.”
The government has repeatedly stated that it is going to restructure the subsidy system by cutting part of their financial allocations, he said.
“Amending the subsidy system along with increasing oil prices will provide about 40 billion EGP that may be exploited to present cash and develop infrastructure,” he said.
The Ministry of Social Solidarity previously announced that about 26 percent of Egyptians live under the poverty line (estimated at 327 EGP per person per month) and about 20 percent of Egyptians are on the edge of poverty, Hamid said.
Minister of Petroleum Sherif Ismail announced this month that energy prices including for diesel oil and solar will soar in the upcoming period to coincide with a government plan to ration the oil subsidy and amend the energy system.
Ismail said rationing the oil subsidy along with increasing oil prices will provide between 30 to 40 billion EGP over the next fiscal year.