During his televised interview on Tuesday, presidential candidate Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said that he would adopt certain mechanisms to control the rising prices of basic goods in the market, stressing that the measures would not include imposing fixed prices.
Al-Sisi added that the profit margin of the private sector’s producers should be reduced in order to support low-income citizens.
The former Minister of Defence stressed the private sector’s role in “building the country” and lessening the burdens on the poor.
Applauding this view, head of Citizens Against Price Rises Association Mahmoud Al-Askalany said the next president should work on setting a ceiling for profits instead of forcing mandatory prices, with the participation of a independent committee.
The ceiling profit rate can be 30% from the production cost, Al-Askalany said, adding that the new government should push for amending the economic and trade legislations to guarantee the rights of all involved parties.
Suggesting different actions in that regard, head of groceries division at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC) Ahmed Yehia said that the next government should first study the factors that affect the pricing system of items such as production costs, manpower and import costs.
“The government can adopt measures to boost local production, for example, so that prices can be controllable,” Yehia suggested.
Yehia argued that traders are unable to control prices “because sometimes the production cost of a certain item increases, so consequently, prices should also increase.”
In an effort to control the market and protect low income consumers, the interim government decided in September to impose price ceilings on fruits and vegetables, prices of which, it claimed, merchants often overstate. This decision, however, was criticised by FEDCOC for encouraging the recovery of black and parallel markets.
Former Minister of Supply Mohamed Abu Shady stated at that time that penalties or those who violate the set prices and commit commercial fraud include imprisonment from one to five years and a fine from EGP 1,000 to 5,000.
Under that system, the supply ministry publishes indicative prices for commodities for merchants to follow.