Govt accuses ‘interest groups’ of causing butane shortage

The government is fighting a battle against “interest groups” in order to supply citizens with butane gas, Egyptian Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Gouda Abdel Khaleq said on Tuesday.

The government has been accusing black market dealers of causing the shortage of gas cylinders, a problem which has already occurred several times in the past year.

At a joint press conference with Minister of International Cooperation Fayza Abouelnaga and Minister of Petroleum Abdullah Ghorab, Abdel Khaleq said the Petroleum Ministry raised the daily supply of butane gas to 15,000 tons, which is 1,000 tons more than usual during this time of year.

He also said the government decided to increase the number of distribution outlets in Giza and replace inspectors to protect against corruption.

Scores of people blocked the highway that connects north and south Cairo, leading to traffic jams, in protest of the short supply of cylinders.

Residents of Manfalot in Upper Egypt blocked the Assiut-Cairo highway on Monday for the same reason, especially after the price of a cylinder hit LE60 on the black market.

The government, which suffers from cash flow problems, spends up to a quarter of its budget on fuel subsidies to keep prices of gas cylinders and gasoline low, but the crisis has escalated since the uprising that overthrew former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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