Saudi Arabia to impose tax on tobacco, sugary drinks on June 10

The GCC have agreed to impose the tax on tobacco. (AFP)
Updated 28 May 2017
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Saudi Arabia to impose tax on tobacco, sugary drinks on June 10

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia will impose a special tax on tobacco and sugary drinks on June 10, as part of a series of steps toward closing a budget deficit caused by low oil prices.
Khalid Khurais, director of the selective tax unit of the General Authority of Zakat and Tax, told Al-Arabiya television on Sunday that rules covering the tax were published in the official gazette last week and would take effect after 15 days.
Officials have said they expect to raise between SR8 billion and SR10 billion ($2.1 billion to $2.7 billion) annually from the tax, which will comprise a 50 percent levy on soft drinks and 100 percent on tobacco and energy drinks.
The tax marks a big change in policy for Riyadh, which has traditionally kept taxation minimal but now plans a series of levies and fees by 2020 to close a budget gap that totaled SR297 billion last year. Next January it plans to impose a 5 percent value-added tax (VAT), a much bigger revenue-generating step.
The other countries in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have also agreed to impose the tax on tobacco and sugary drinks, and are expected to do so in coming months.


Moody’s raises GDP growth forecasts for Saudi Arabian economy

Updated 18 October 2018
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Moody’s raises GDP growth forecasts for Saudi Arabian economy

  • The Moody’s report released on Wednesday maintained the Kingdom’s A1 rating
  • he agency expects higher oil production to boost the Saudi economy

LONDON: Moody’s has raised Saudi Arabia’s GDP growth forecast for 2018 to 2.5 percent from 1.3 percent as it maintains a “stable outlook” for the Saudi economy.
The ratings agency also increased its 2019 GDP forecast to 2.7 percent, well above the 1.5 percent previously predicted, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Finance said.
Moody’s numbers exceed the forecasts of the Saudi Arabian government for the 2019 budget announced in September.
The Moody’s report released on Wednesday maintained the Kingdom’s A1 rating.
The agency expects higher oil production to boost the economy, but also said developments in the non-oil sector will contribute to stronger GDP growth in the medium and long-term.
Moody’s said the Saudi government deficit for the 2018 and 2019 will hover between 3.5 percent and 3.6 percent, a far cry from its previous expectations of 5.8 percent and 5.2 percent.
Moody’s commended Saudi Arabia’s reasonable control of expenditure, even in the face of higher oil revenues.
“In addition to the moderate funding requirements, the government is able to access ample sources of liquidity, from both domestic or international capital markets and financial reserves. It is unlikely to face problems in financing the fiscal deficit,” the report said.
Last week, the IMF lifted its projections for economic growth in Saudi Arabia saying the Kingdom’s economy is expected to grow by 2.2 percent in 2018 and 2.4 percent next year, raising previous projections by 0.5 percent.