Egypt hikes gas prices by up to 75 percent
Egypt raised natural gas prices for households and businesses on Saturday by up to 75 percent, the latest among tough austerity measures.
The increases follow hikes to fuel, electricity and public transport prices that are part of a $12 billion IMF loan programme signed in 2016 aiming to lift the economy battered since the 2011 revolution.
The government's decision, published in the official gazette on Saturday, should come into effect starting August. It sets the price for gas consumption of up to 30 cubic meters to 0.175 Egyptian pounds up from 0.100 pounds per cubic meter, an increase of 75 percent.
Meanwhile, gas consumption between 30-60 cubic meters went up by 42.8 percent, from 0.175 Egyptian pounds to 0.250 pounds per cubic meter. Consumption of more than 60 cubic meters was upped by 33.3 percent, from 0.225 pounds to 0.300 pounds per cubic meter.
The move is likely to further fan the flames of popular discontent, especially among poor and middle-class Egyptians who have borne the brunt of the government's economic reform programme.
In recent months, Egypt also raised the price of new cellular phone lines and monthly cellular phone bills. Charges for issuing passports and car licenses also went up steeply.
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi claims the reforms have put Egypt on "the right track" and that they will spur economic growth by over seven percent in the coming years.