Egypt Lowers Fuel Prices After Protests

Egypt lowered fuel prices on Friday, the oil ministry said, following several rounds of price hikes as part of an austerity programme that have triggered discontent.

The move comes a week after rare protests broke out in Cairo and other cities across Egypt calling for the removal of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The country’s pricing committee “decided to lower the prices of the three types of gasoline products on the domestic market by 25 piastres (0.015 US cents) a litre”, the ministry said in a statement Thursday.

The price of 80-octane gas was cut to 6.5 Egyptian pounds, 92-octane to 7.75 pounds and 95-octane was lowered to 8.75 pounds.

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The decision comes “in light of the decline in the price of Brent crude oil in the international market between July and September … and the depreciation of the dollar against the (Egyptian) pound,” it said.

Egypt has raised fuel prices several times as part of subsidy cuts under ambitious but tough economic reforms since general-turned-president Sisi took office in 2014.

The austerity policies, including subsidy cuts on essentials such as fuel as well as the devaluation of the local currency, are tied to a $12-billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

Egypt received the final tranche of the three-year IMF loan in August.

Since Egypt’s agreement with the IMF in 2016, living costs have soared, hitting poor and middle-class Egyptians.

Sisi regularly calls on Egyptians to endure the economic hardship promising future prosperity.

Last month’s protests broke out in defiance of a ban on demonstrations after an exiled Egyptian businessman accused Sisi and the military of rampant corruption.

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AFP

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