Egypt to start rationing subsidised bread: Minister
CAIRO (REUTERS) - Egypt plans to start rationing subsidised bread, a minister said on Tuesday, restricting supplies of cheap loaves upon which many Egyptians depend as the cash-strapped state tries to curb spending.
Dr Bassem Ouda, the minister of supply and internal trade, said the government would start implementing the system "after two months". Trials of the rationing system using electronic smart cards would begin in the cities of Port Fouad and Port Said.
Food supply is a politically sensitive issue in Egypt, where rising prices are being passed on to struggling consumers and shortages have provoked unrest in the past. Curbs on bread subsidies triggered bread riots in 1977.
The cheapest subsidised loaves are sold for 5 piastres, or less than one US cent. There are currently no controls on how many Egyptians can buy.