An official source speaking on condition of anonymity, said the government is considering a new tax on all kinds of tobacco.
The tax is 50 percent of the sales price to consumers and LE2.50 on foreign brand cigarettes manufactured in Egypt.
However, he said ministers of the Economic Group requested the government to postpone the tax, especially that the new capital gain tax led to a sharp decline in the stock market.
The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics had advised the government to impose a tax on tobacco in order to reduce its consumption, as smokers account for 17.5 percent of the population and as there are 20 million people affected by passive smoking.
The source added that the government needs to increase provisions for health and education in the new budget.
Eastern Tobacco Company Financial Director Osama Saad, for his part, said the company was not notified of a new tax.
Gamal Ramadan, a member of the board, said the company produces 75 billion cigarettes of a total of 80 billion cigarettes on the market. “The real problem the government should face is smuggling because smuggled cigarettes account for 19 percent of the market,” he said.
Ibrahim Imbaby, head of the tobacco division at the Federation of Industries, said the tax was considered under the rule of the Brotherhood but was postponed.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm