Tobacco tax in Saudi Arabia: 213% increase in smokers seeking help to quit

Updated 14 October 2017

Tobacco tax in Saudi Arabia: 213% increase in smokers seeking help to quit

MAKKAH: Statistics from the Ministry of Health indicated that there has been a higher demand in the Kingdom from people seeking help to give up smoking in the wake of the rise in tobacco prices announced on June 11.
The rate of people seeking help from clinics has increased by 213 percent during the past three months in comparison with the same period last year.
Sharifa Al-Zahrani, the head of the ministry’s smoking cessation clinics, said that taxes are the most effective way to help people, especially youths, quit smoking.
Ibrahim Al-Hamdan, the head of the Tobacco and Narcotics Combat Society, also known as Kafa, told Arab News that the excise tax is a great step that has shown success all around the world.
Al-Hamdan said that 2018 will witness a higher increase in the number of people seeking help from clinics as taxes will not be removed, adding that the rate of smoking in the US dropped from 40 to 18 percent in three decades, which is a very positive sign.
“Kafa has two sides: The first one focuses on awareness and prevention campaigns in malls, schools and public events, while the second one focuses on treatment in clinics,” said Al-Hamdan.
Many people volunteer to help Kafa by telling their stories to smokers about their suffering from cancer caused by smoking, he added.


Saudi VAT revenues hit SR46.7bn in a year: Finance minister

Updated 57 min 27 sec ago

Saudi VAT revenues hit SR46.7bn in a year: Finance minister

  • Al-Jadaan announced the figures during the first edition of the General Authority for Zakat and Tax
  • Said Kingdom was working to reach a consensual solution for tax challenges

RIYADH: Saudi VAT revenues have hit SR46.7 billion ($12.45 billion), a significant increase on estimates for the fiscal year, according to the Kingdom’s finance minister.

Mohammed Al-Jadaan announced the figures during the first edition of the General Authority for Zakat and Tax (GAZT) conference and exhibition.

“The commitment rate came at 90 percent, exceeding all the expectations of GAZT and some international organizations that ranged between 60 and 70 percent,” he said.

“The conference comes as the Kingdom is witnessing an economic and social transformation under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to achieve a diverse economy and sustainable growth in line with the Kingdom’s 2030 vision.

“The Kingdom’s fiscal policy aims to achieve a balance between the state’s financial and economic objectives. It seeks to maintain financial sustainability for the medium and long terms, which stimulates economic growth rates. This generates from our recognition that fiscal policies are one of the most important drivers of growth in the non-oil sector,” he added.

“The digital economy is rapidly advancing. We hope that modern technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchains will improve compliance with zakat and taxes, enrich the business sector, lower costs, promote tax transparency and develop e-commerce tax regulations.

“This conference will hopefully achieve a qualitative leap in the sectors of zakat and taxes by promoting cooperation and exchanging experiences.”

Al-Jadaan said that as the Kingdom prepared to host the next G20 summit, it was working to reach a consensual solution for tax challenges of the digital economy and contribute with other member states to stabilizing the global economy.