Egypt warns against hoarding diesel at home

CAIRO, March 17 Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:29am EDT

CAIRO, March 17 (Reuters) - The Egyptian government warned citizens of the dangers of hoarding large quantities of diesel at home on Sunday - a symptom of the shortages afflicting an economy in crisis.

Shortages of subsidised diesel have paralysed transport in parts of Egypt, as the government faces pressure to curb energy subsidies that swallow up a fifth of its budget.

Bassem Ouda, minister of supply and internal trade, urged citizens to avoid actions exacerbating fuel supply problems, including what he described as a current trend for "storing massive quantities" of diesel indoors.

"I warn that this is very dangerous. If, God forbid, a problem happened in a home, or a fire, the results will be bad. We appeal to citizens to avoid this," he said during an interview with state-run Radio Masr.

Dwindling supplies of state-subsidised diesel have led to long queues at petrol stations still getting fuel deliveries.

Egypt must commit to reforming the subsidy system if it is to secure a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. An IMF delegation began talks in Cairo on Sunday.

The government plans to implement a subsidised fuel rationing system at the beginning of July. (Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Jason Webb)

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