Egypt’s military has taken over the running of the country’s smart card subsidy scheme, the government said today, in the latest sign of the armed forces increasing their influence over the economy.
The government said the management of the smart card subsidy system had been transferred to the military production ministry from the planning ministry.
“The move comes in the context of developing this system which aims to ease pressure on citizens and provide the best service when it comes to bread,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement.
The smart card system, rolled out in 2014, gives Egyptians points to claim against bread and other items. The cards were also designed to stop bakeries selling subsidised flour on the black market.
The military’s economic activities have expanded over the past year. In recent months, for example, it has been getting more directly involved in commodities procurement, moving from supplying food on the street amid shortages to trying to buy goods such as rice directly from international traders.