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Egypt Extends Cost-Cutting Effort to Applicants for Food Rations

  • Government sets income caps for people applying for new cards
  • Around 75 percent of Egyptians rely on the cards for food
Egyptians wait for customers in the historic Khan al-Khalil market in downtown Cairo.
Photorgapher: Marwan Naamani/AFP via Getty Images

Egypt tightened access to a costly rations program on which the majority of the population relies, the latest in a series of painful and politically-sensitive measures seeking to repair public finances and restore investor confidence.

The decree unveiled Tuesday restricts access to new ration cards to people earning 1,500 pounds ($84.50) a month or less for applicants in the public or private sector, the Supply Ministry said in a statement. Lower caps apply to other segments of the population, including pensioners, and the total number of family members covered under the same card was set at four -- with no option to add additional names after the card is issued.