President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has only been in office for a month, yet he moved to cut subsidies on fuel - a move that previous governments had avoided fearing a backlash.

Egypt spends more than 30 percent of its budget on fuel and food subsidies, in a country where nearly 40 percent of the population, some 34 million people, live near or at the poverty line.

Justifying the subsidy cuts, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb says the decision would not affect food prices. Insisting his government had factored in a cut in fuel subsidies in a recently approved budget for the current fiscal year.

Sisi has already raised electricity prices in an effort to reform energy subsidies, one of a range of politically sensitive subsidies that also cover transport, food and agriculture.

But would his decisions create a backlash? Or, would Egyptians cope with these measures?

Presenter: Folly Bah Thibault


Ashraf Abdel Ghaffar, Senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mahmoud Hamad, associate professor of International Relations at Drake University.

Peter Middlebrook, managing director of Geopolicity, a consulting firm specialising on political and economic intelligence in the Middle East.

Source: Al Jazeera