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Prices for import cigarettes rise

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Head of Tobacco Division at FEI denies official move to raise prices

Ibrahim Embaby, the head of the Tobacco Division at the FEI, denied that there had been any increase in the price of non-locally produced cigarettes. “If cigarette prices have risen, then it is simply a move by greedy traders.”  (Laurence Underhill/DNE Photo)

Ibrahim Embaby, the head of the Tobacco Division at the FEI, denied that there had been any increase in the price of non-locally produced cigarettes. “If cigarette prices have risen, then it is simply a move by greedy traders.”
(Laurence Underhill/DNE Photo)

Prices for cigarettes produced outside Egypt rose on Sunday by EGP 1 to EGP 2, with traders expecting further rises at the beginning of May.
The prices of Marlboro’s cigarettes, including Marlboro Reds and Marlboro Gold, jumped EGP 2 to reach EGP 16 from EGP 14.

Prices for locally-produced cigarettes like Cleopatra, however, remained unchanged, confirmed Tareq Mohamed, who works at a kiosk in Dokki.

“The price of a carton of ten packs of cigarettes rose by EGP 10 from Sunday morning,” said Mohamed.

A woman working at another kiosk in Dokki said that prices for Marlboro cigarettes increased by EGP 1, while US-produced L&M cigarettes increased by EGP 0.50. “However, our profit margin is still the same,” she said.

In early April, a number of kiosk owners condemned an increase in the prices of some cigarette brands, which rose abruptly by almost 5%.

Ibrahim Embaby, the head of the Tobacco Division at the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI), denied, however, that there had been any increase in the price of non-locally produced cigarettes.“There has been no increase,” he said. “If cigarette prices have risen, then it is simply a move by greedy traders, since the price of the US dollar has jumped recently.”

Mohamed Ahmed, an owner of a supermarket in the Shubra neighbourhood in Cairo, said: “I don’t know why prices have gone up, but when I got my supplies of Marlboro, L&M and Merit cigarettes from the wholesaler, I found they had all risen by EGP 1.”

Consumers have also confirmed the price rises.

“This is provocation,” said Ahmed Mahmoud, an architect who smokes Merit cigarettes.

Tarek El-Dosouky, a taxi driver, also said that prices had increased “by about EGP 1”.

“All types of cigarettes have increased by 1 EGP, except local cigarettes and Rothmans cigarettes,” said Mohamed Safwat, a graphic designer.

“The prices have increased twice in a very short period,” he said. “Two weeks ago, a pack reached EGP 14.5 instead of EGP 13.5, and now it has hit EGP 16.5.”

The increase in the prices of non-locally produced cigarettes comes following recent announcements by Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Ashraf Al-Araby, who said that the Egyptian government will raise taxes on cement, iron, the telecommunications sector, cigarettes, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, in compliance with the government’s economic reform programme which seeks to enable Egypt to secure a $4.8bn loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

According to media reports, Minister of Finance Al-Morsi Hegazy said on the sidelines of the IMF-World Bank spring meeting in Washington DC that the Egyptian government is moving to raise some taxes on non-essential items this weekend.

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Hend El-Behary

Hend El-Behary

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