CAIRO, April 13 Egypt will introduce a smart
card system for subsidised bread nationwide by July, in an
attempt to curb corruption and smuggling, Supplies Minister
Khaled Hanafi said on Sunday.
A pilot scheme was launched in the Suez Canal city of Port
Said on Sunday and will be implemented in other cities next
"The new system will ... save the subsidies allotted for
bread, which cost 22 billion Egyptian pounds ($3.15 billion) a
year, from being wasted and leaked," Hanafi said in a statement.
Egypt is the world's largest importer of wheat, purchasing
around 10 million tonnes a year, and provides the poor with
subsidised loaves sold for the equivalent of one U.S. cent.
Profiteers have exploited the system and many feed bread to
livestock because it is cheaper than animal feed.
The government is under severe financial pressure and spends
around a quarter of its budget on subsidies of food, which also
cover rice, sugar and oil, and energy.
Egypt has undergone three years of economic and political
turmoil since a popular uprising ousted Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
($1 = 6.9751 Egyptian Pounds)
(Reporting by Ehab Farouk writing by Asma Alsharif; editing by