CAIRO, March 26 (Reuters) - Egypt's government has allocated
$235 million of funds to pay for imported fuel cargoes and "a
long queue of tankers" are waiting off the coast to discharge
badly needed diesel, the oil minister said in remarks published
Shortages of subsidised diesel have paralyzed transport in
parts of Egypt, as the cash-strapped government faces pressure
to curb energy subsidies that swallow up a fifth of its budget.
The finance ministry has approved $235 million to pay for
fuel and diesel deliveries, Oil Minister Osama Kamal told the
business newspaper al-Mal.
"A long queue of tankers carrying refined products are
currently waiting at three Egyptian ports to discharge," he
The newspaper said at least 13 tankers carrying around
65,000 tonnes of diesel, known as solar in Egypt, and 75,000
tonnes in other refined products such as petrol were waiting off
the coast to get paid.
Egypt, which has endured two years of political instability
since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, is trying to
control a soaring budget deficit and secure a $4.8 billion loan
from the IMF.
It is working on an economic programme where it plans to cut
back on subsidies of fuel. Last year it eliminated subsidies on
95-octane gasoline, the highest grade available, and it raised
fuel prices in many sectors last month.
The government has said it plans to implement a subsidised
fuel rationing system at the beginning of July.
(Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Alison Birrane)