Egypt Independent

Minister: Fuel crisis result of smuggling, not poor supply



Egypt's fuel crisis is the result of illegal trade rather than a supply shortage, Petroleum Minister Osama Kamal has said, arguing that daily diesel supplies stand at 35,000 tons, costing more than US$35 million.

The ministry’s plan is to redistribute the current supply, excluding stations that smuggle fuel, the minister told reporters on the sidelines of an annual conference on petroleum industry in Arab states.

The new distribution plan will also involve smart cards, and will be roled out between April and July 2013, the minister added.

The Egyptian government has been moving towards reducing fuel subsidies, which account for one fifth of Egypt's GDP, but has been wary of continued domestic instability.

Fuel subsidies reached nearly LE55 billion (US$8.21 billion) during the first half of fiscal year 2012-2013, part of an overall LE120 billion total predicted for the whole year.

Chronic fuel shortages have sparked scuffles among customers in several provinces and have also negatively impacted the agricultural and industrial sectors.

Edited translation from MENA