CAIRO: An elderly woman died of respiratory and circulatory collapse in a gathering of 1,000 people outside the Supply Directorate in Banha, northeastern Egypt, to renew their smartcards Monday, Youm7 reported.
The body of Ghalia Awad, 72, was transferred to Banha General Hospital in the company of her neighbor, Fatma Mohamed, 30.
The forensic report negated any suspicions of a crime, and her son Ibrahim Saeed did not accuse anyone of his mother’s death.
The Ministry of Supply launched a new system in 2014 for citizens to receive subsidized commodities with smartcards, rather than their paper cards.
The smartcard-based system is similar to a cash transfer system where each card includes a number of points per family member to claim rations of commodities including bread tea, sugar oil, soap and rice.
An important difference in the new system, which is not used by millions of families, is that a citizen may use his points for whatever commodity and is not limited to a certain amount of a specific product, as long as he has enough points.
Egypt has subsidized strategic commodities, including oil, since the Nasserite era in the 1950s. Economic reforms aim to reduce the subsidies, which take a large sum of the country’s budget, to meet standards set by the world’s influential economic institutions.