Egypt’s military has received the license required to form a pharmaceutical company, a decree by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail published on Sunday 22nd January showed.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has often called in the military to assist in major infrastructure projects and with distribution of subsidized commodities to keep a lid on rising prices amid an acute shortage of dollars.

Egypt has faced a drug shortage for months and the government raised prices on a number of medicines in January after months of negotiations with pharmaceutical companies hurt by dollar shortages and a weakening currency.

Issues with the Egyptian pound have made it increasingly difficult for the country’s pharmaceutical companies to import the active ingredients they need to make generic medicines that millions of poor Egyptians rely on.

“The National Agency for Military Production is permitted to partake in the founding of a company called the Egyptian National Company for Pharmaceuticals,” the Prime Minister’s decree, published on Sunday, read.