Egypt hikes electricity charges in austerity drive

13 Jun 2018

Egypt is raising the price of electricity by an average of 26 percent as part of austerity measures designed to overhaul the country's economy.

Announcing new cuts to its energy subsidies, Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker said on Tuesday that charges for factories would rise by 41.8 percent and for households 20.9 percent. The new charges will take effect in July, he added.

Egypt earlier this month raised the price of piped drinking water by up to 45 percent.

Rare protests broke out last month against the surprise decision to hike fares on the Cairo metro.

Authorities more than tripled the standard fare from 2 to up to 7 pounds ($0.4), the second round of metro fare hikes since March 2017.

In recent years the government has slashed subsidies and allowed the currency to float, causing the prices of basic goods to soar.

The measures were aimed at qualifying for a three-year $12 billion bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund, which Egypt secured in 2016.

The austerity measures have taken a heavy toll on poor and middle-class Egyptians.

alaraby

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