Egypt's three state-owned grocery chains generated profits in June for the first time since their establishment in 1968, reported Al-Ahram news website.
Al-Ahram, Nile and Alexandria consumer complexes witnessed net profits worth LE1.8 million ($0.251 million) in June after a whopping increase in sales. The three chains generated LE131.2 ($18.35 million) million in sales in June compared to LE80.7 million ($11.3 million) in the same month of last year.
Egypt's supply minister, Khaled Hanafi, stated that the rise in sales was due to the 30 percent discount in the commodity prices offered at the public groceries compared to the prices in the private supermarkets.
The three stores have 1,600 branches nationwide and are controlled by the Egyptian Food Industries Holding Company.
Hanafi added the new food subsidy system has contributed to the high sales since the Egyptian Food Industries Holding Company came under the supply ministry's supervision in May.
Mahmoud Diab, the supply ministry’s spokesman, told Ahram Online that under the new system around 18 million Egyptian families use electronic smart cards for bread purchases and to buy 20 different subsidized goods at grocery stores across the country.
The list of twenty goods will be expanded to 100 commodities within months. Meat and poultry will be among the new products on the list.
The new system also enables the government "to avoid a lot of corruption" Diab said, because grocery stores will have to order goods requested by their customers from the government instead of the government delivering goods without any consumption data.
"The new system is currently implemented in Suez, Ismailia, Port Said and several areas in Cairo and Alexandria, but it will be applied in all of Cairo by late July," Diab added.