CAIRO, March 30 Egypt will receive payment
facilities from American and European suppliers of wheat, an
Egyptian newspaper on Saturday quoted minister of supplies
Bassem Ouda as saying, as the world's biggest wheat importer
struggles to pay for imports.
Two years of turmoil since the overthrow of President Hosni
Mubarak has badly hit an economy starved of tourism revenues and
with a depreciating currency.
"American and European exporters of wheat will provide
payment facilities to Egypt to import wheat during a period of
up to nine months," Ouda told Al-Shorouk newspaper.
He did not say whether Egypt would be given a full
nine-month window to pay or whether payments would be divided
over nine months.
A ministry official who asked not to be named said on
Saturday the minister did not want to reveal the details of the
deal "to protect the interests of Egypt".
He said Egypt also wanted to reach agreements with non-U.S.
or European suppliers. Russia is also a major supplier.
"All exporters are welcome to present their views to the
ministry with the facilities they would like to give to us to
import wheat from them," he said.
Egypt subsidises bread for its 84 million people. Bakers
have threatened a strike, seeking overdue subsidy payments they
put at nearly $60 million.
A cabinet report on Wednesday showed the country now holds
2.116 million tonnes of grain, enough to last 85 days.
Egypt buys around 10 million tonnes a year, but state
purchases since January have fallen to less than a quarter of
the volume in the same period last year.
(Reporting by Yasmine Saleh; editing by Andrew Roche)