CAIRO: A cooperation protocol has been signed to provide youths with loans to establish consumer complexes, Supply Minister Khaled Hanafy said at a news conference Thursday.
Hanafy signed the protocol in coordination with the Social Development Fund to provide commodities-based loans at 75,000 to 100,000 EGP ($9,570-$12,770) per loan to establish consumer complexes selling foods and meat.
The anticipated consumer complexes, meant to provide job opportunities and increase low-priced food outlets, will be overseen by the Holding Company for Food Industries. The loan terms will begin in December.
Ultimately, the project aims to help reduce food prices in general, whether at state or privately-owned outlets, Hanafy said.
Amid attempts to slow down rising prices, the price of imported and local meat has been reduced from 57 to 50 EGP per kilo at consumer complexes. The price, however, remains prohibitively expensive for many segments of society.
Trucks bearing the logo of the Armed Forces have been deployed at several squares in Egypt, selling meat, poultry and other goods at prices lower than the average, with crowds of people gathering around the trucks.
Further, the Supply Police has embarked on inspection campaigns to control prices and prevent leakage of subsidized commodities into the black market.
In November, Egypt began importing wheat on behalf of both the public and private sectors so private business receive the wheat at the lowest price possible to reflect a cheap price offered to consumers, according to a Ministry of Supply statement Thursday.
Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer, with traditional bread being a staple in Egyptian meals. It has imported tons of wheat in the past few months to secure subsidized bread and to prevent high prices offered by the private sector over wheat-based production, and has begun to build several silos to increase local production.