The Egyptian government is planning to restructure the allocation of petroleum subsidies among various groups in society, Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Usama Kamal told al-Shurouk daily of 14 October. Egypt has made the reduction in energy subsidies in the country one of its main 2012-13 budget priorities. The minister noted that although the government had planned to cut the petroleum subsidies in the budget, which started on 1 July, actual spending in the first quarter (July-September) of the fiscal year had risen to E£28bn ($4.6bn) from E£18bn ($2.9bn) in the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

The petroleum subsidies in the 2012-13 budget were allocated E£70bn ($11.5bn), or roughly E£17.5 ($2.9bn) per quarter. The government has actually spent 60% more in the first quarter of the year, according to the minister’s calculations, and the authorities need to address this issue sooner rather than later (MEES, 6 August). (CONTINUED - 595 WORDS)