Supply Minister Bassem Auda announced a 15% reduction in the prices of some 22 consumer products during the month of Ramadan.
The supply and internal trade ministry met Monday to devise a plan, in collaboration with the finance ministry, to reduce the prices of foodstuff for a month and sell them through government outlets. The action is meant to ensure that these items remain on the market at reduced prices for the duration of Ramadan.
The food items in question include rice, sugar, oil, vegetables, and dairy products, among many others.
The month of Ramadan is usually marked by heavy consumption of food commodities and high prices due to heavy demand. As economic expert Alaa Mostafa clarifies, however, Ramadan is not the sole reason for price hikes. The fluctuations in the exchange rate of the Egyptian pound are likely, he says, causing a significant increase in inflation.
“A price increase during the month of Ramadan is common due to high consumer demand, especially for Ramadan products. It is therefore [impossible] to reduce prices, despite the government’s efforts to do so,” Mostafa said.
Mostafa added that the high consumer demand in Ramadan is a “normal consumer behaviour that occurs not only in Egypt, but in the Arab world as well due to the holy month”.
Earlier this year, the Supply Ministry had implemented a number of measures to control market prices, including developing plans to prevent price manipulation. Other governmental measures included providing the market with sufficient levels of essential consumer goods by increasing the supply of subsidised commodities – namely oil, sugar and rice – to meet consumers’ needs.
Since the 25 January Revolution, Egypt has been hit with ongoing price hikes and inflation, with the latter having reached 8.2% in May.