Egyptian Finance Minister Mohamed Maeit said on Sunday that raising the price of the customs dollar for non-basic and entertainment goods is in the interest of citizens and national industries.
In a press conference, Maeit added that the price of the customs dollar remained stable for about 13 months at LE 16 pounds, since the decision to float the Egyptian pound’s exchange rate.
The Egyptian Finance Ministry announced on Friday that it would raise the customs dollar price for non-essential and entertainment goods, linking it to the exchange rate of the dollar in the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) for a month starting from December 1.
A statement by the Finance Ministry said that the price of the customs dollar will be fixed at its current rate of LE 16 for strategic and necessary goods for a month beginning from December 1 until December 31.
Egypt floated its currency in 2016, devaluing it by 48 percent, in order to meet a key demand by the IMF and secure a three-year $12 billion loan.
The US dollar exchange rate currently stands at LE 17.86 for buying and LE 17.95 for selling, according to CBE exchange rates.
Maeit pointed out that the price of customs dollar for non-essential and entertainment goods should have been reviewed earlier in favor of reform and for the benefit of citizens and industry.
He stressed that the deepening of national industry and the creation of employment opportunities for young people are the reasons for increasing the price of the customs dollar and to distinguish prices for essential and strategic goods.
Maeit pointed out that raising the price of the customs dollar will be on a select group of finished goods that are not essential or necessary, and it will not be prevented but will be linked to the exchange rate of the CBE.
He added that the lists of non-essential goods will be reviewed monthly to follow up on the inflationary effects resulting from the decision to liberalize the price of the customs dollar for non-essential goods.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm