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Government moves to solve Egypt’s cigarettes crisis

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly followed the business activity of the Eastern Company for tobacco products in a Monday meeting at the government headquarters in New el-Alamein City.

There he reviewed the position of the company’s work activity, the volume of production from its each of its products and the work plans and development programs done to increase it and achieve balance in the markets for its various products.

The meeting was held in the presence of Public Business Sector Minister Mahmoud Esmat, and participation of Finance Minister Mohamed Maait, and Deputy Finance Minister for Financial Policies Ahmed Kouchouk, via video conference.

The meeting dealt with developments in providing the raw materials necessary for the manufacturing operations of the company’s various products, especially cigarettes.

A reference was made to increasing the supply orders for raw materials, which contributes to increasing the volume of daily production, and providing more supply in an effort to stabilize the market and control prices for the cigarettes commodity.

During the meeting, it was noted that the Eastern Company accounts for about 75 percent of the market size of cigarettes, and there are continuous efforts to offer more quantities of the company’s various products, especially cigarettes, to meet the needs of the market.

A source familiar with the Eastern Company said that the cabinet meeting discussed the government’s preparations to increase the company’s documentary credits to increase the daily production quantities of cigarettes.

The source added, speaking on condition of anonymity, that the company intends to increase production, and has the ability to increase production by the equivalent of 50 million cigarettes, or five million packs of cigarettes, to reduce price hikes.

The head of tobacco division at the Egyptian Federation of Industries Ibrahim Imbaby, said that a breakthrough in the cigarettes crisis depends on issuing the tax legislation delayed since June.

The Eastern Tobacco Company should change the marketing mechanisms of its products by working on direct distribution to kiosks and wholesalers to curb greedy merchants, he added.

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