Workers in the retail sector in Egypt identified several reasons for the successive rises in commodity prices, especially food, most notably the rise in the exchange rates of the dollar against the Egyptian pound, in addition to the continuation of the monopoly phenomenon by some companies and entities.
Since the last quarter of last year, Egypt has witnessed successive and rapid increases in the prices of all commodities. According to the available figures, the prices of meat and poultry have jumped by more than 100%. The prices of strategic commodities, especially oils, sugar and rice, rose in similar proportions.
The head of the Importers Division of the former Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Ahmed Shiha, confirmed that prices in Egypt are not fair and have nothing to do with international commodity prices, and all the increases in the prices of all commodities are directly due to the continuation of the monopoly phenomenon by some importers and companies, as well as weak oversight. With more than 4.5 million retailers operating in the Egyptian market.
In his interview with Al-Arabiya.net, he indicated that the final solution is for the government to open the way for importers in all sectors, so that we witness real competition between merchants and importers.
He explained that the prices offered by the government in its outlets, which are significantly lower than the prices offered in the private sector, reveal the size of the huge gains achieved by some import companies that control certain types of commodities.
He said that there are a large number of major traders and importers who are taking advantage of the dollar scarcity crisis to raise prices by unnatural or logical proportions, and these are the ones at the forefront of the scene and criticize the government when it intervenes through one of its mechanisms to calm the pace of price hikes and they turn the crisis into a war between the government and the private sector until The government backs down and gives them the opportunity to reap more gains and profits.
During the last period, the Egyptian government, in cooperation with the Central Bank of Egypt, was able to end the crisis of stockpiling goods and commodities in Egyptian ports. According to official figures, goods worth between $17 and $18 billion were released during the period from the beginning of last December to February 18.
The economist and vice president of the Arab Union for Social Development in the Arab Action System of the League of Arab States for Economic Development Affairs, Dr. Ashraf Ghorab, believes that government indicators and decisions indicate that the coming period will witness a decline, albeit relatively, in prices, especially the prices of food commodities and strategic commodities.
He pointed out that the successive releases of the goods accumulated in the ports until they are completed, in addition to the return of import operations with collection documents, in addition to the exhibitions that the state holds throughout the governorates in all its centers and cities, such as “Welcome Ramadan” exhibitions and the “We are all one” initiative that is held by the Ministry of Interior, which It offers large discounts on food commodities of more than 25%, pointing out that all this indicates a decrease in the prices of food commodities during the coming period with the approach of the holy month of Ramadan.
He stressed that the continued release of goods in ports leads to the availability of raw materials, especially those related to the food commodities sector, in addition to the start of the great fasting by the Coptic brothers starting from February 20, which will reduce the demand for red meat and poultry, in addition to the availability of fodder that will show its impact in the next session. Before the month of Ramadan, which is expected to lead to a decrease in poultry prices by some percentage, in addition to the Prime Minister’s decision to exempt poultry farms from real estate taxes for a period of 3 years, which will be beneficial to reduce the cost of production and thus reduce the price of poultry.
He mentioned that some vegetables have already witnessed a decline during the current period, and that the intermediate links between the farmer and the retailer must be reduced because they may be a reason to control the price sometimes, indicating that rice will also decrease in price during the coming period, in conjunction with the move of the Ministry of Supply and its announcement of A tender to import barley rice, which will lead to an increase in the quantities offered in the market, which will cause its price to decrease during the coming period.