Egypt has no wheat crisis, interest rate hike likely: PM

Cairo: Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has said Egypt will not have a crisis in wheat supplies despite the repercussions of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, two main wheat exporters to Egypt.

Madbouly’s remarks came during a press conference on Sunday at the investment authority headquarters in Cairo to higlight the country’s economic situation amid the global rising inflation, Xinhua news agency reported.

The national project of increasing agricultural lands has enabled Egypt to increase wheat growth, he said.

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“This year, for the first time in the history of Egypt, we are expected to reach 10 million tons of wheat production,” the Prime Minister said.

Egypt has wheat reserves sufficient for four months, and with continuing local wheat production, it is expected to be sufficient till the end of the year, he added.

Egypt has reserves of basic commodities, including wheat, cooking oil, rice, poultry, meat and others sufficient for four to six months, according to Madbouly.

The worldwide inflation surge led the US Federal Reserve to recently increase its interest rate, and several central banks across the world have followed suit.

The Prime Minister said it is “likely” that Egypt is going to increase its interest rate too.

“The percentages and timings are completely subject to the assessment and evaluation of the Central Bank of Egypt,” he added.

Besides, Egypt plans to reduce the gross government debt from 85.8 to 75 per cent of the GDP by 2026, the Prime Minister said.

To face inflation, Egypt will provide 130 billion pounds (about $7 billion) in the coming general budget to ease part of the burden suffered by the citizens, increase beneficiaries of social protection programs and maintain providing low-price food commodities, Madbouly added.

At present, there are 71 million citizens in Egypt benefiting from subsidised bread.

The Prime Minister said the Egyptian economy was among the few countries in the world that managed to achieve positive growth during the Covid-19 crisis, noting that the International Monetary Fund has recently raised its expectation for Egypt’s economic growth to 5.9 per cent for the current fiscal year 2021/2022.

“With all the unprecedented global crises the world has seen over the past three years, Egypt has been able to overcome and face these crises steadfastly,” Madbouly said, reassuring that the country will be able to overcome the current crisis.

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