The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) announced on Wednesday it is suing the government for subsidising fuel to factories, which heavily rely on fuel.
The EIPR filed a lawsuit at the Administrative Court on Saturday against interim President Adly Mansour and interim Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, each in his professional capacity, calling on them to stop subsidising fuel to factories.
“In light of the current energy crisis, such subsidies take their toll on the state budget… especially [since] they do not benefit the state or its citizens,” the statement read, adding that cement and fertiliser factories are among the top factories that receive subsidised fuel.
The EIPR stated that such factories have made huge profits off fuel subsidies and gave little in return. It added that cement factories, for instance, have monopolised the product instead of decreasing its prices.
EIPR lawyer Taher Abul Nasr said in the press statement that in 2007, 40 factories reaped 65% of subsidised fuel consumed by the industrial sector. Those factories only contributed to the production output by 20%, he added.
The organisation criticised the increased gas prices for domestic citizens, saying that it burdens citizens, especially the underprivileged ones.
Natural gas prices increased starting May, as per a ministerial decree. Users of less than 25 cubic metres of gas now pay EGP 0.40 per cubic metre; those who consume between 25 and 50 cubic metres pay EGP 1; and those who consume above 50 cubic metres pay EGP 1.5.
The EIPR said its lawsuit complies with Articles 8, 9 and 32 in the newly-passed constitution. Article 8 mandates the state to achieve social justice; Article 9 mandates the state to create equal opportunities among citizens; and Article 32 states that natural resources are a public property which must be preserved by the state.
Facing its worst energy crisis in years, the Egyptian government is struggling to come up with solutions to the fuel shortage. Citizens are mostly outraged over the frequent power cuts, gradually increasing to unprecedented levels throughout the past couple of years.
On Monday, the Ministry of Finance referred the 2014/2015 fiscal year’s general budget to the presidency for ratification, coinciding with the starting day of the presidential elections. The new budget cuts petroleum subsidies by approximately EGP 30bn.