Conflicting statements from petroleum sources on fuel price increase
Minister of Petroleum Sherif Ismail - YOUM7 (Archive)
By SARA OSAMA SHOUREAP

CAIRO:  Sources from within the Ministry of Petroleum gave conflicting statements about the increase of fuel prices in the upcoming period.

An official source told Al-Shorouq Friday that the government decided to restructure the subsidy system on petroleum products this week, indicating that prices of petroleum products will increase by 1 EGP per liter.

Government subsidies on petroleum were reduced in the budget of Fiscal Year 2014-15. They will work on cutting down the allocations to 80 billion EGP ($11.18 billion) instead of 104 billion EGP after President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi refused the current budget, a source who requested anonymity said.

“I cannot ratify a budget that will create a deficit of more than 300 billion EGP and surge public debt to more than 2 trillion EGP,” Sisi said during the graduation ceremony of a new batch of Military Academy cadets Tuesday.

Sisi discussed the budget with the ministers of finance, trade and planning Monday to examine how to avoid the deficit. They also discussed finding solutions for decreasing the budget without upsetting public opinion.

The government agreed on raising the prices of fuel radically in the coming five years, the source added.

The government decided to apply the increase in fuel and diesel prices starting next Tuesday, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.

A government source told Al-Masry Al-Youm Saturday that the price of 80-grade fuel will increase from 90 piasters to 140 piasters per liter, while 92-grade fuel will increase from 185 piasters to 235 piasters per liter.

A source told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the plans also include increasing the prices of diesel.

Governmental officials said there was a 25 percent increase in the price of petroleum products in recent days, signaling that the market is ready to accept the new increase, especially because current subsidies represent a crisis to the national economy.

A source at the Ministry of Petroleum told Akhbar Al-Youm Friday, “As of right now, the ministry won’t issue an official decision to increase prices,” adding that what circulated in the media was untrue. He also asked the media not to spread false news.

Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker said last April that fuel supplies to power plants are at a suitable rate for now, and that if supplies continue at the same rate, citizens will only face very minimal power outages, Youm7 reported.

The return of power outages across Egypt has caused much frustration among citizens. The cuts now occur a few times a week.

The Minister of Electricity earlier stated that the country will be living in darkness during the summer, which raised the ire of the general public.

Hafez Salmawy, head of the Egyptian Electric Utility and Consumer Protection Regulatory Agency, told The Cairo Post in April that recent power outages are due to a lack of fuel to run power stations.

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