The Cabinet has decided to postpone the hike in energy prices, scheduled for July, due to the worldwide decline in prices of oil, Petroleum Minister Sherif Ismail said.

The minister stressed that the government intends to liberate energy prices over the next five years, ending in 2019.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Ismail explained that the decline in the crude oil price has lowered the subsidy estimates in the current budget to less than LE70 billion, down from the budgeted LE 100 billion.

Ismail said the decision would not affect Egypt’s commitment to the economic reform plan, but stressed that choosing the time for reforms should be based on current circumstances.

The ministry, according to Ismail, will finalize the plan to liberate the gas sector from state control within six months, which will allow the private sector, for the first time, to import gas to cover its needs. “Consequently, any company founded for that purpose will have the right to use the government’s gas network, harbors, all of the infrastructure in return for a tariff that will be agreed on,” he said.

Source: Al Masry Al Youm.