Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Osama Kamal gave a press conference at the meeting of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), in which he discussed the government’s decision to raise the price of fuels and commented on the economic damage faced by the oil and gas industry.
Kamal spoke of the Egyptian government decision to raise prices on diesel and other fuels for oil-intensive industries. He noted that several industries and factories had been exempted from the price increases based on consultations with the Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of Supply. In particularly, bakeries will be exempted due to their important role in feeding the Egyptian public.
As regards fuel for vehicles, the oil minister said that the traffic difficulties facing gasoline trucks in the areas around Tahrir Square, Federal Square, and other protest locations had cost the country 5 million pounds. This sum includes losses from the gas stations in central Cairo and Heliopolis. Additionally, there is a diesel crisis in Upper Egypt due to protests by the drivers of oil company vehicles, who fear being attacked while transporting fuel.
Egypt has faced several difficulties in its fuel industry since the Arab Spring toppled President Hosni Mubarak, mostly related to questions over the future of fuel subsidies. A large part of the government’s budget went towards subsidizing basic goods, including fuel, and subsidy reform is necessarily a major part of the country’s economic reform. There has been public outcry over changes to subsidies, and occasional shortages of gas and electricity.