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Monday, 21 March 2022

It’s not just food prices that are going up

The nation’s talking heads took a break from discussing food price inflation last night, and instead turned their attention to the rising price of cigarettes. British American Tobacco Egypt yesterday announced that it will raise its prices between EGP 1-3 per pack, a hike that Federation of Egyptian Industries cigarettes division head Ibrahim Embaby said was the result of the central bank’s decision to require letters of credit (L/Cs) from importers. During a phone-in with Al Hadath Al Youm’s Hadret Al Mowaten (watch, runtime 3:24), Embaby said the decision to raise prices was caused by a decrease in supply on the back of fewer raw materials being imported by manufacturers. As of the beginning of March, banks have stopped documentary collection as part of the import process after the CBE instructed them to only accept L/Cs. Embaby called for raw materials used in tobacco products to be exempted from the decision due to a lack of local alternatives.

Then again: Maybe it isn’t exactly a public health disaster if cancer sticks get a bit more expensive? Just a thought. (Also: Nothing is more self-righteous than an ex-smoker. We admit that…)

No plans to increase the prices of meds: The pharma industry is staying strong in the face of global price surges and will work on decreasing production costs to avoid any price increases for consumers, Gamal El Leithy, head of the pharma chamber of the Federation of Industries, told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi in a phone-in (watch, runtime 5:00). “These are tough times, but I want to reassure Egyptians that there will not be any medicine shortages across the country,” he said.

Manufacturers want the Consumer Protection Agency to reconsider its recent decision requiring companies to include expiration dates on product labels from May. In a phone-in on Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime 2:32:51), Federation of Industries board member Mohamed El Bahy said that it didn’t make sense to include a shelf life on durable goods and called on the agency to only apply the decision to medical products.

There’s a new covid strain on the block: The new BA.2 variant is a "sublineage" of the omicron variant that appears to be even more transmissible, said Hossam Hosny, head of the committee to combat the coronavirus, in a phone-in with Al Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime 5:18) However, its symptoms appear to be just as mild as omicron, with fewer hospitalizations so far, he said.

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