Egypt is Carrying out Far-Reaching Business Reforms


Reports are suggesting that the sugar shortage in Egypt is seen easing within weeks as companies resume imports after the government scrapped customs duties on the commodity.

The country has received about 60,000 metric tons of sugar in two cargoes since the duties were lifted Thursday, Alaa Ezz, secretary general of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, said in an interview. Companies have also contracted to import about 100,000 tons due to arrive within weeks, he said. Most is from Brazil.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail last week decreed an end to a 20 percent tariff on white sugar as of Nov. 10 through May 30. Egypt has struggled with a shortage in recent months because of a lack of dollars and rising global prices, a situation worsened by the tariff. Removing the duty is encouraging more supplies to help meet local needs, Ezz said.

“The sugar shortage is expected to ease within 10 days,” he said. “We’ll start seeing sugar on the shelves.” The nation imports almost a third of the 3 million tons of sugar it needs annually, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.

This month Egypt floated its currency, allowing a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund needed to aid the economy. Consumers have also been hit with rising inflation. Egypt has enough sugar to last until February, the Cabinet said Thursday.