CAIRO: Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif has ordered the Ministers of Finance and Trade and Industry to coordinate with the Minister of Social Security in forming an organizational authority to overlook the production and distribution of subsidized bread, identify any rising needs and monitor production throughout all of its stages.
Magdy Rady, spokesperson for the Cabinet of Ministers, told the press that the organizational authority will be geared towards ensuring that the bread subsidy is utilized efficiently and effectively. Furthermore, it will encourage the creation of large centers for bread production and the conversion of small-scale bakeries into large-scale distribution units.
Egypt consumes around 14 million tons of wheat annually. It relies on bread imported from other nations to account for approximately half of that amount.
The bread industry is one of the most important in Egypt — especially given that over 240 million loaves of bread are produced daily via approximately 17,000 small bakeries, according to the cabinet’s press statement.
Minister of Social Security Ali Moselhi has presented a report on the bread industry to the other concerned ministers. The report outlines plans for a restructuring of the system and for increased bread production. Moselhi also noted the need for the establishment of an organizational authority to be supervised by all concerned parties within the bread industry, as well as the necessity of devising an economic model for bakeries throughout the nation, according to a Cabinet of Ministers statement to the press.
The report also mentioned the establishment of microeconomic models in villages, and setting up development plans for state-owned mills and companies.
Nazif called on the ministers to immediately implement the plans for the bread industry and the organizational authority once they are agreed upon and finalized.
Last month, Minister of Foreign Trade and Industry Rachid Mohamed Rachid said that Egypt has secured the required wheat shipments to meet its needs and to avoid shortages in subsidized bread. Rachid also noted that Egypt would not face a repeat of the 2008 bread riots as a result.
In 2008, shortages in the quantity of bread and the rising commodity prices led to clashes between protestors and policemen. This year, Egypt has rushed to replace 540,000 tons of wheat they were expecting to receive but lost after Russia — Egypt’s top wheat supplier — stopped wheat exports, including contracts with Egypt, following a massive drought in Russian farmlands.