Petroleum Ministry not responsible for butane coupon delays, says source

The Petroleum Ministry is not responsible for the delay in implementing a coupon system for distributing butane gas cylinders, said an official ministry source who requested anonymity.

The source said Supply and Domestic Trade Minister Gouda Abdel Khaleq incorrectly blamed the Petroleum Ministry for the problem, alleging that Abdel Khaleq is fully aware that the cabinet, not the petroleum minister, is responsible for issuing resolutions to apply the coupon system.

The supply minister has condemned the Petroleum Ministry’s refusal to set a profit margin to pay the owners of butane gas cylinder warehouses. The source said this charge is pressuring the government “to respond to unreasonable and exaggerated requests posed by the owners of [cylinder] factories and warehouses during the meetings currently taking place between [concerned] parties to reach an agreement on the payment ratios.”

The official said the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation has offered the owners of the warehouses a net profit of 50 piasters per cylinder, higher than the 10 piasters they currently make. However, according to the official, the producers have demanded LE1 per cylinder, an unacceptable figure to the state, which is trying to reduce, not increase, subsidy payments.

The official said warehouse owners and the petroleum authority continue to meet to reach a compromise on applying a coupon system that will not create problems in the future.

Supply and Domestic Trade Ministry representatives took part in all the meetings with Petroleum Ministry representatives, as well as public and private sector representatives, to agree on terms suitable to the current cabinet, taking into account the balance between meeting the needs of private sector warehouse owners and the government, the source said.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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