Egypt’s General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) has issued an international tender to purchase 38,500 tonnes of cooking oil to increase government subsidies for those on ration cards.

According to the country’s Ministry of Supply, approximately 27,200 tonnes of the total would be soyabean oil, while more than 9,000 tonnes would consist of sunflower oil, Egypt Today wrote on 16 November.

“We will choose the best offer so that the supplying process can start at the beginning of January and continue until 15 January,” a ministry source told the news outlet.

GASC previously signed agreements in July to purchase more than 55,000 tonnes of cooking oil as part of the Egyptian governments efforts to meet the country’s demand for strategic commodities.

Egypt’s president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced in late June a government plan to increase subsidies available to ration cards from E£21 to E£50 (US$1.10 to US$2.70) per individual as part of an effort to boost the country’s social safety net.

The decision would raise allocations for food subsidies in the 2017/18 fiscal year to E£85bn (US$4.9bn) from the E£47bn (US$2.7bn) in 2016/17, reported Egypt Today.

According to Bloomberg, the majority of Egyptians relied on ration cards as nearly half of the population lived near or below the poverty line.