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.


Egyptian economy on right track after 5.6% growth in 2018-2019: prime minister

Updated 17 July 2019
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Egyptian economy on right track after 5.6% growth in 2018-2019: prime minister

  • Egypt is emerging from a three-year economic reform program tied to a $12 billion loan from the IMF
  • Egypt has been praised by international lenders for swift reforms implemented since 2016

CAIRO: Egypt’s economy grew 5.6 percent in the 2018/19 fiscal year and is “on the right track” as it completes IMF-backed reforms, Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli said on Wednesday.
The budget deficit came in at 8.2 percent of GDP, he said, which was slightly below an official forecast of 8.4 percent.
Egypt is emerging from a three-year economic reform program tied to a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.
Madbouli said Egypt’s primary surplus stood at 2 percent for the fiscal year, which ended in June, and also pointed to a recent drop in inflation as positive signs. Economic growth was up from 5.3 percent in 2017/18 and in line with a government forecast.
“At the same time, it induces us to complete the implementation of reforms and the efforts exerted to achieve the targets for the new fiscal year,” Madbouli said in a statement said.
Egypt has been praised by international lenders for swift reforms implemented since 2016, though austerity measures and inflation have left many Egyptians struggling to get by.
The reforms included a sharp devaluation of the currency, the introduction of value-added tax and the elimination of subsidies on most fuel products.
Headline annual inflation dropped to 9.4 percent in June from 14.1 percent the previous month, though it is expected to rise over the rest of the summer as the impact of the latest round of fuel subsidy cuts kicks in.