Ahmed Nazif, Egypt’s prime minister, has extended his government’s exemption of sugar from customs duties until 30 June.

Sugar’s exemption from import duties was due to expire on 1 January, but Nazif decided to extend the tariff-free status of both raw and refined sugar by a further six months.

Nazif wanted to lessen the impact of rising food prices on ordinary Egyptians, said Ahmed Farag Seoudi, the head of the Egyptian Customs Authority, who announced the prime minister’s decision.

The Egyptian government first exempted sugar from import duties on 15 August this year. At the time, officials said that the government would reinstate tariffs with effect from 1 January.

The tariff on imports of raw sugar was 2 per cent and on refined sugar 10 per cent.