Black market fuel trade on the rise in Egypt
Drivers of mass transportation cars in Cairo said on Sunday that the Diesel crisis in Egypt has been going through for around three months has revived the black market, one litre of diesel is sold for about L.E. 2.5 in the black market though its official price is L.E. 1.1.
“Selling diesel in the black market provides me with a good income in light of the tough economic conditions that Egypt has been going through since the uprising,” a fuel broker who declined to be named told Aswat Masriya.
Egypt’s economy has suffered turmoil since the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising that broke out in January 2011, causing unrest that pushed away investors and tourists.
Egypt also faced a fuel crisis that caused nationwide protests and the recurrence of cutting off roads incidents. The government claims that smuggling the fuel is the reason behind this crisis.
Hassan Mahmoud, driver, says that some owners of licensed gas stations sell diesel at prices higher than the official price. He said that buying diesel from the black market is often better than “having to wait for three hours to get diesel at the official price.”
Another driver told Aswat Masriya that it takes more than five hours per day to actually find diesel at the official price, he added, “Some drivers take the day off in order to find diesel.”
Oil Minister, Osama Kamal, has said on AlJazeera channel that subsidized diesel will be distributed through smart cards system in order to grant that subsidies are within reach of those who deserve it.
The government says it plans to start applying a system of distributing diesel through smart cared by July, aiming at limiting the budget deficit which mostly goes to subsidize energy.
Energy subsidies take up to 20 percent of the annual budget.