“Supply between Change & Counter Monopoly”
The crises of supply and monopoly practices remain one of the most persistent issues faced by consecutive governments, despite the continuous efforts to encounter them over the past years. However, they have not succeeded in finding radical solutions as a result of many challenges such as the continuous increase in the subsidy bill and fluctuations in the exchange rate. In this context, Canada Egypt Business Council and the Egyptian Council for Sustainable Development organized an event with H.E. Ali Moselhy Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, Dr. Mona El-Garf Chairman of Egyptian Competition Authority and Prof. Ahmed El-Wakil Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce to discuss the topic “Supply between Change & Counter Monopoly”
In the opening remarks, Eng. Motaz Raslan started his speech by welcoming all the guests and the attendees; then he mentioned that during the past period the Egyptian government has took some strict but important decisions like floating of the Egyptian pound and raising prices of oil in order to solve the current economic problems; these decisions had huge impact whether on the government budget or on consumers; as result of the higher prices reflected in goods and services. This leaded to an increase in the greed of some producers and rise in monopoly market; which contributed to the rate of poverty and inability to afford all the basic needs.
Eng. Raslan mentioned that the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade can be the most effective solution to get out of this crisis and save the economy from future collapse, adding to that, that the upcoming challenges are huge as the government spend on bread subsidies about $85 million which is a huge burden on the current governmental budget , and we consume bread with about 137 billion loaf per year, also there is a deficit in sugar of about million ton annually, and we import about 90% of crude oil, what is worse than this is the wrong targeting of subsidies that is negatively affecting those who are under the poverty line. Lastly, we should learn from our history and have the ability to make studies for early forecasting and put strategic plans to face any possible challenges that can encounter us.
Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Dr. Ali Moselhy announced that the authority of Internal Trade Development will set up a plan in May for all lands that will be established on them projects as storage, packaging and packaging centers on the country level according to the needs of each governorate, in cooperation with the private sector and governors. He further explained that the ministry aims to develop the internal trade strategy and the establishment of disciplined markets at the level of each governorate and at the level of each center, in order to eliminate price distortion, explaining that most markets in Egypt are not controlled except the transit market, 6th of October city, ‘El Hadra” in Alexandria and a few markets in the province of Ismailia.
He explained that we seek to develop storage places, whether existing by the sender or nearby, pointing out that most of them suffer from weakness, neglection and needs to be developed. He stressed on the need to manage and take measures to prevent any problem before its occurrence, and pointed out that the internal trade system requires increasing the effectiveness of the consumer protection system and the supervision of markets, as reflected in the new draft law, in addition to increasing the role of civil society organizations. In the same context, the minister explained that the ministry aims to develop the stamp authority and its balance sheets to increase its role in monitoring the markets as well as developing the trade register and trademarks. On the other hand, he confirmed the continuation of the data updates of 19 million beneficiaries of smart cards, which began in early April and will perform until June the 30th, adding that the purpose of updating the data is the existence of a database to show us the those who are in need of subsidies, in order to stop the wrong targeting crisis.
Dr. Mona el Garf mentioned that the of Egyptian Competition Authority is not responsible for fighting monopoly markets, she added that the Egyptian Competition Authority is facing several attacks, and is bearing tasks that are not from its responsibility, adding that its real responsibility is not recognized or appreciated. She wanted to explain the real purpose of establishing the authority which was to transform the economy from centralized economy to a free market one, and allowing perfect competition and private sector to interfere in the market, also supporting internal and external trade.
The floor was opened for questions and answers session concerning the corrupt of traders and the support of citizens deserving subsidies, and the situation after the completion of the preparation of the database, will it be more punctual and will subsidies be received by the beneficiaries who have the right for such support.