fuel subsidies

It took two years of vacillation before Indonesia’s cautious president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, finally hiked government-administered fuel prices in June.

Now, just three months later, the prickly political issue of Indonesia’s ballooning fuel subsidy bill is back on the agenda after the slide in the value of the rupiah, the world’s worst-performing major currency since May, led to a spike in the price of petrol imports. Continue reading »

Predicting when Indonesia’s gingerly President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will take a tough decision is a fool’s game.

Despite suggestions from his ministers and advisers on Monday that he would finally announce a long-discussed hike in the price of subsidised fuel, on Tuesday, SBY (as he is universally known) stepped back from the brink once again. Continue reading »

Don't take my subsidy away

Struggling to bring down its fiscal deficit, India wants to stop allowing commercial ventures like movie theatres, swish office complexes, and hotels from using highly-subsidised diesel fuel to run-back up generators when the power goes out. It is also trying to wean factories, mobile phone towers, and state-run bus companies from highly subsidised fuel.

But New Delhi has discovered that a partial-phase out of subsidies – particularly targeting affluent and resourceful entrepreneurs – is more difficult than it looks. Continue reading »

The Middle East and North African nations fall into two categories that make their economies vastly different: some are wealthy oil exporters, the rest are net importers. But they have one thing in common: subsidies, writes Ayesha Daya.

With oil prices expected to drop this year, amid sluggish global growth and unexpected supplies coming on stream in non-Opec countries, MENA’s richer nations may have to join the poorer ones in tightening their belts. Continue reading »

A delegation from the International Monetary Fund is due in Egypt next week to discuss a much-needed $4.8bn loan seen as a lifeline to an economy battered by almost two years of political turbulence. Crucial to securing the loan will be reforms to be unveiled by the Egyptian government aimed at helping it rein in an 11 per cent budget deficit. Cuts to the country’s costly energy subsidies (which suck in 20 per cent of the budget) are expected to be at the heart of these reforms. Continue reading »

Has the Egyptian government conducted a real social dialogue on its planned economic reforms? The government says it has just finished such a discussion over the programme it will submit later this month to the International Monetary Fund.

But some participants aren’t sure they were properly consulted. Continue reading »