Minister threatens to sue striking bakers

Minister threatens to sue striking bakers

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Mon, 18/03/2013 - 23:22

All "reckless" bakeries that respond to calls for civil disobedience will be shut down, warned Supply Minister Bassem Ouda on Monday.

 “And I will sue all bakers objecting to the new policy for baking bread,” he threatened.

Ouda made his statements during a meeting with owners of oil, rice, pasta and sugar factories. The meeting was intended to discuss best practices for producing  high-quality goods for ration cards at prices low and middle income classes can afford, in order to achieve social justice.

The debate between Ouda and bakery owners has been ongoing since the government started implementing a new subsidy system in February. The government says the system will save LE11 billion annually by making it more difficult for whole ingredients like wheat to be sold on the black market.

The plan subsidizes only final bread products, not the costs of grain and flour.

Ouda commented on the shortage of fuel and food commodities on Sunday, saying “if you think I have a magic stick to solve problems, you're talking about a country other than Egypt.”

In a meeting with representatives from the bakeries held on Sunday at the Sohag Governorate building, Ouda said significant efforts would be made to overcome the diesel oil shortage.

The new system of bread production will cost the government LE1.5 billion, Ouda added. However, bakers said they didn't believe his promise that net profits would increase under this system.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm