The pilot smart-card program in Port Said has reduced wheat consumption by 30 percent. (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)
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Egypt's supplies minister said Saturday a smart-card system for bread distribution rolled out in one Egyptian city had reduced wheat consumption by 30 percent, easing the strain of subsidies on the government's budget and foreign reserves.The army-backed government that took over unrolled the first stage of its program a few weeks ago in the same city, in an attempt to find a solution to Egypt's corrupt and wasteful bread subsidy regime, which costs around $5 billion a year.Hanafi described the pilot as "a dazzling success" in comments published by state news agency MENA.He told Reuters in March that the smart-card program would be applied across Egypt within three months.Hanafi predicted Saturday that this component of the program would inject 500 million Egyptian pounds ($70.97 million) into the Egyptian market and create 80,000 jobs.
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