Egypt's petroleum minister says the country is "suffering" due to fuel subsidies, saying these funds are better diverted to health care and education.

Tarek el-Molla, speaking at a conference in Cairo Monday, says the government pays 42 percent of the cost of 92-octane gasoline, which is used to fuel privately owned vehicles owned by more affluent Egyptians.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi had cut fuel subsidies in 2014, in a move that caused a public outcry but was welcomed by economists as a necessary step to save public funds for much-needed development projects.

He declined to share a timeline or the government's plans for future fuel subsidy cuts, saying announcing these plans ahead of time could prompt people to hoard gasoline to sell at a higher price later.