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Egypt Government to Set 'Fair' Prices to Confront Market Manipulation

Egypt Government to Set 'Fair' Prices to Confront Market Manipulation

Tuesday, 5 April, 2022 - 07:45
Egyptian traditional loaves of bread are seen on shelves from the oven at a bakery in Cairo’s southeastern Mokattam district in Egypt, March 16, 2022. (Reuters)

The Egyptian government announced on Monday it intends to “publish a list of fair prices for basic commodities,” in order to prevent the manipulation of prices by merchants.

The announcement comes less than two weeks after it decided to temporarily set a fixed price for unsubsidized bread.

During a meeting on Monday of a special ministerial committee entrusted with finding solutions to confront the impact of the current global crisis on strategic commodities, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly stressed “the need for permanent coordination with the Federation of Chambers of Commerce to announce a list of fair prices for basic commodities.”

The committee includes the ministers of Awqaf (Islamic Affairs), Supply and Internal Trade, Finance, Local Development, Interior, Social Solidarity, Agriculture and Trade and Industry, as well as representatives of the National Service Projects Organization (NSPO), the Information and Decision Support Center, and the Consumer Protection Agency.

Madbouly pointed to “complaints from citizens” over some supermarkets and stores highly increasing the prices of some goods.

He noted in this regard that the fair price list would contribute to limiting such practices, adding that the Consumer Protection Agency and the Supply Investigations Department would look into all complaints and take the appropriate measures.

Last month, Egypt set a fixed price for unsubsidized bread in an effort to counter rising food prices after the Russia-Ukraine war closed off access to lower-priced Black Sea wheat.

Madbouly announced that commercially sold bread would be sold at 11.50 Egyptian pounds ($0.66) per kg, according to a statement by his office.

“We don’t want merchants to lose, but we will not allow unjustified and exaggerated rises in the prices of basic commodities,” he told the meeting on Monday.

The government is seeking to reassure the citizens about the reserves of goods. Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali Al-Moselhi emphasized “stability in the wheat supply system, and the speed of payment of dues to farmers.”

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