Oman to increase tax on tobacco

The tax on tobacco in the Sultanate of Oman is set to double, according to senior officials at Oman’s Ministry of Health. (Shutterstock)
Updated 12 February 2018

Oman to increase tax on tobacco

DUBAI: The tax on tobacco in the Sultanate of Oman is set to double, according to senior officials at Oman’s Ministry of Health, Omani daily Times of Oman reported.
The increase in tax came as part of Oman’s newly-launched National Multisectoral Plan for Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
According to the NCDs, tobacco use is of the highest priority of five primary risk factors the plan will focus on.
The price of cigarettes in Oman currently stands at an average of $2.7 per packet, with the new hike to bring it up to roughly $9.
“There are different plans: One is spreading awareness, another is laws that limit smoking in enclosed areas, and then there are increased taxes on tobacco and smoking. These work together to make smoking more difficult. When you are aware that if you smoke, you will encounter heart disease and cancer, you have to think not once or twice, but three times,” a senior official at Oman’s Royal Hospital told the Times of Oman.
In 2016, Oman raised the tax on tobacco by 100 percent, along with other GCC states.


Higher impairment charges hit UAE banks Emirates NBD and ADCB

Updated 38 min 32 sec ago

Higher impairment charges hit UAE banks Emirates NBD and ADCB

DUBAI: Dubai's biggest lender Emirates NBD reported a 15 percent drop in fourth-quarter earnings on Monday, below analysts' forecasts, on a jump in impairment charges, sending its shares down around 1 percent.

The bank booked impairment charges of 2.06 billion dirhams ($560.88 million) in the quarter, up more than three times from a year earlier due to higher bad debt charges as it consolidated results of newly acquired Turkish lender DenizBank.

Even without DenizBank, impairment charges were up 78 percent on lower writebacks and recoveries. The bank did not give details of these charges.

Banks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are bracing for more writedowns from the real sector amid a downturn, especially in the Dubai property market.

Fitch Ratings recently warned a weakening property market in the UAE was likely to put more pressure on the asset quality of the banking sector.

Emirates NBD reported a net profit of 2.02 billion dirhams in the fourth-quarter, down from 2.39 billion dirhams in the same period a year earlier. EFG Securities had projected a net profit of 2.45 billion dirhams.

Full year profit, however, surged 44 percent, underpinned by double-digit growth in net interest income, stronger loan growth and gains from the listing of the bank's unit Network International.

Separately, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, the UAE's third-biggest bank, also reported a 16 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit on Monday, hurt by an increase in impairment charges.

Emirates NBD said it expected the Expo 2020 world fair to support multiple sectors in Dubai, but a softening real estate market remained a risk for 2020.