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Egypt president raises cigarette prices by 50 percent, beer 200 percent

Egypt's president has issued a decree raising the sales tax on cigarettes by up to 50 percent and on beer by 200 percent.

The decision released Sunday is the latest in a series of recent decrees that aim to ease Egypt's staggering budget deficit, which has hovered at around 12 percent over the past three years of turmoil.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, former military chief elected last month, vowed to take tough decisions to address the country's battered economy. This weekend, el-Sissi also partially lifted subsidies on fuel, a politically sensitive issue that Egypt's previous leaders had avoided.

In Egypt, where nearly 50 percent of the population live in poverty, state subsidies on energy and basic food stuffs eat up a quarter of the budget.

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