Egypt’s new subsidy cards for basic goods will cover no more than two people, said President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday, warning newly weds they should no longer expect the state to feed their children.
“There is no way we will be issuing cards to people who are getting married. If you are getting married and you expect the state to give you a ration card, how can this be? You cannot afford (living costs),” Sisi said at the inauguration of development projects in Upper Egypt.
“This culture has formed in people’s minds, and it is only in our country that people expect to buy things for less than their value, and get services for less than their value, and to have children and (expect) someone else to feed them,” he added.
The country’s sprawling subsidy programme issued by the Ministry of Supply, and beneficiaries provides items like bread, rice and sugar to more than 60 million Egyptians.
Subsidy cards have previously been able to routinely add individuals if their family grew. In 2017, the government capped individuals added to the card to four.
In August, Sisi shocked Egyptians by announcing the increase in price of bread, revisiting the issue for the first time since 1977 when then president Anwar Sadat reversed a price rise in the face of riots.
Some 30% of the population fall beneath the government’s poverty line.
The decision would not affect the holders of cards issued in the past. He, however, has not given any indication when the change would take effect.