Egyptian minister’s statements contradict presidential decision of limiting food rations for current beneficiaries
CAIRO - At the time when Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi announced on Wednesday that he would ban free food rations for newly wedded couples and limit coverage of current beneficiaries, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali El-Moselhi seemed to refute the head of state’s statements.
Following Sisi’s announcement, El-Moselhi said in a press conference that “the president did not mention the old [beneficiaries]” and only tackled the status of new weds as to free food supplies.
El-Moselhi told reporters that old beneficiaries would continue receiving their rations as usual.
However, Sisi was clear about his decision to limit the supply of rations.
“We won’t allow free rations for more than two family members,” Sisi said, addressing a group of top officials following the inauguration of a number of national projects in southern Egypt.
Among the basic supplies offered through ration cards are bread, oil, sugar, rice and fava beans. Citizens have long complained about the low quality of these products, though.
The state has recently cut the amounts of rations, especially bread and oil, more than once.
Sisi, a father of four, has recurrently addressed the subject of over-population as one of the major challenges facing economic growth, in a country where almost one-third of its 101 million population is below the poverty line.
Meanwhile, social media users denounced Sisi's decision, sharing several hashtags that included: “Sisi is God’s enemy.”
“[Sisi] banned ration cards for poor married [couples] rather than supporting youths [financially] incapable of getting married to maintain their chastity. It’s as if marriage is not a humane, instinctive need legitimately fulfilled by marriage. #Sisi_God’s_enemy makes difficult for people what’s permissible: food, [water], housing, and all basic needs, leading them to deviate.”
“What’s ridiculous is that #Sisi_God’s_enemy deals with the people as if he supports them with his own money. The last [action] is to deprive whoever gets married from [his or her] right to free rations…Cursed be this state that steals our money, then deals with us as if it spends it on us!”