Fuel price hike; inevitable decision with obscure impacts
Petrol station - YOUM7
By MUHAMMAD GHAMRAWY

CAIRO: Without a prior notice and following on a promise to cut subsidies, the government raised the fuel prices starting Saturday, letting the people accept the new fait accompli.

The new prices which were raised by up to 78 percent would put the government in a big challenge with signs appeared at gas stations where cars crowded were seen queued once again since the ouster of Mohamed Morsi.

“The fuel price hike is  ‘hard but inevitable decision‘that the government is obliged to take and the people should bear,” former Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawy told Youm7 Saturday.

Beblawy, whose government hesitated in raising the fuel prices fearing the public outrage, added the country does not want to hurt the citizens and wants to ease on them.

“ The subsidy does not reach those who deserve it,” said Beblawy adding that the decision came to decrease the budget deficit.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ratified the amended state budget of the 2014/2015 fiscal year with a deficit estimated to stand at 10 percent of the GDP compared to 12 percent in the fiscal year 2013/2014.

Sisi refused to ratify the state budget when it was presented to him on the grounds that the budget deficit was excessively high.

The volume of state expenditure in the revised budget reaches 789 billion EGP.

The spokesperson of the Free Egyptian Party Shehab Wageh told Youm this decision is required during the current phase adding that only businessmen benefit from the subsidies on the petroleum products.

As soon as the decision of raising the fuel prices came in the news, gas stations were filled with care waiting in long queues.

“If it would help the country, we agree, although the decision came in a difficult situation… electricity, water and gas bills were raised,” a citizen in a queue at an oil station in Cairo told Video7 Saturday.

While, another one said “the prices were abruptly raised and would affect on the price of food commodities.”

Journalist Shahira Amin, who interviewed the former president Mohamed Morsi on the state TV, said on her facebook page, “Don’t say you weren’t warned….the bike ride was the message.”

Amin was referring to Sisi’s initiative calling on people to ride bikes when going to work or school in order to save money and energy. His call was on the first Friday after being inaugurated as a president when several footage of him with hundred of bikers went viral on social networking websites.

Furthermore, Hussein Abdel Raziq, member of Tagammu Party told Youm7 Saturday that the government has chosen the easiest way in increasing the petroleum prices but without putting into consideration that it would increase the prices of food and basic commodities.

Pro-Mubarak “Ana asef ya rayes” (We are sorry, Mr. President) Facebook page broadcasted an old video of Mubarak addressing the nation and saying he had refused to raise the fuel prices by 90 percent.

The new increase in fuel prices ranged from 0.40 EGP ($0.06) to 0.75 EGP per liter.

The price of 92 octane gasoline, which sold at 1.85 EGP a liter, was raised to 2.6 EGP, and 80 octane gas from 0.9 EGP to 1.6 EGP per liter.

The price of diesel was raised from 1.1 EGP to 1.8 EGP per liter.

The rise will most likely affect the tariff of private transportation vehicles amid the notable security lapse.

Mohamed Abdel Aziz, former member of Tamarod movement slammed the decision and saying “it’s the worst decision the regime has ever taken”, adding there were other alternative solutions for lessening the budget deficit without affecting the low-income class.

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