Egypt’s Minister of Finance, Mohamed Maait, announced on Sunday, 2 July, that Egypt had released imported goods worth USD 32 billion (EGP 989 billion) from ports over the past five months in order to improve the production cycle and reduce price volatility in the market.
Maait added that the decision reflects Egypt’s commitment to provide all basic commodities and meet the needs of local citizens, prioritizing imported food manufacturing, medical and production supplies.
“We are keen to secure Egypt’s strategic stock of basic commodities for citizens to maintain the volume of quantities offered in the local market and create favorable conditions for price stability,” the minister said.
Maait also noted that the government has introduced measures to reduce the burden on importers, such as penalty and tax reliefs. The use of customs automation systems has also helped to simplify international trade procedures and replace the manual processing of customs documents.
These decisions also align with Egypt’s plan to increase its ports’ share of transit trade and encourage the business community to expand its investment activities. To uphold international standards, Egypt’s ports now prevent the entry of any goods that do not conform with European and American specifications.
Earlier in June, the World Bank revised Egypt’s projected real gross domestic product (GDP) growth over the current fiscal year (FY), cutting the number to 4 percent from 4.8 percent in their June 2023 Global Economic Prospects report.
Adding to its economic strains, Egypt’s annual headline inflation skyrocketed this year, reaching 33.7 percent in May, its highest in five and a half years.
Egypt has sharply devalued its currency three times since February 2022, which adds to the costs of repaying government debts, including the USD 3.5 billion (EGP 107 billion) in repayments for previous International Monetary Fund (IMF) programmes coming due by the end of this year.