CAIRO: The Free Egyptians Party acted as a mediator between the Ministry of Supply and citizens regarding the new government system for subsidized commodities by reporting on obstacles faced by people while purchasing food commodities, Soheir Shalakani, head of the party’s women’s committee, told The Cairo Post Sunday.
By December, citizens will have to use smartcards to buy subsidized commodities, which they should be able to obtain by exchanging their old subsidy paper cards for new ones in the next month, the Ministry of Supply announced Sunday on its official website.
“The most important aspect of this system is to ensure subsidies go to those who deserve it,” Shalakani stated. The smart card-based system is similar to a cash transfer system where each card includes the number of points per family member and each commodity is worth a certain number of points for a monthly amount of commodities, including bread, tea, sugar, oil, soap and rice.
The Free Egyptians Party had been working on the ground for months, under a campaign called “It is your right to get your right.” “Our goal is to help the ministry to successfully implement the new system of commodities supply,” Shalakani said, adding that their team has been interviewing citizens for months and noted several problems reported to the ministry in a meeting Saturday.
“We have found that generally people are happy with the new system, but many remain unaware of the details, others have complained of the lack of some goods. We took complaints to ministerial officials who assigned their department of supply investigations to follow up on outlets,” Shalakani said.
Citizens should refer to supply offices they are affiliated with with the required documents regarding the family’s financial status and other required documents, as their new cards should be issued within 15 days of their application, Youm7 reported Sunday, citing the Ministry of Supply.
The party’s mission includes raising awareness on the current procedures and monitoring supply outlets in all governorates through divided missions in each neighborhood.
Shalakani said the ministry has been cooperative and welcoming of their efforts, and that results will be made public. “Despite that we have been doing this for months, we wanted to announce the campaign after conducting different works in order to be able to have concrete material when addressing the government,” party member Antoniuo Danial explained in statements to The Cairo Post.
At least 18.2 million smart cards should be operating through the system, which the ministry started implementing earlier in 2014. Bread was included in the commodities last April.
Additional reporting by Rany Mostapha, Medhat Wahba.