Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources has confirmed the country will commence fuel subsidy rations in July.

Speaking on Egyptian television channel CBC, Osama Kamal revealed the introduction of a rations programme involving a fuel smart card system. The programme was initially slated for launch in April to coincide with parliamentary elections.

Reducing fuel subsidies has become a major priority for the government of Mohamed Mursi, which is intent on reducing the country’s escalating budget deficit in a bid to secure a $4.8bn loan from the Washington-headquartered IMF.