JEDDAH: The Saudi tax authority has announced it is to start implementing a selective levy on sugary drinks.
The General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT) will police the introduction of a resolution of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to expand tariffs to include sweetened beverages, in addition to soft and energy drinks.
From Dec. 1, 2019, drinks will be taxed at 50 percent of their retail sale price in line with GCC regulations issued in June 2017.
According to GAZT, the tax will apply to any sweetened beverage that consists of water and sugar, sweeteners, concentrated liquids, powders, or extracts converted to beverages.
GAZT added that health reports had highlighted the negative effects of consuming sugary drinks, noting that consumers were more likely to be exposed to diseases and weight gain. Studies suggested the benefits of replacing them with fruit and natural juices rich with vitamins.
The authority said some drinks would be exempt from the selective tax, including milk-based products (75 percent at least), milk, infant formula, as well as drinks that contain natural sugar, such as fruit juices and those for medical purposes.
For further information on drinks with added sugar and to find out which products will be exempt from the tax, visit the GAZT website at www.gazt.gov.sa.
Djibouti president to give keynote address at virtual launch of Arab News en Français
French ambassador to Saudi Arabia to inaugurate new digital news site
Updated 14 July 2020
RIYADH: In an online ceremony linking Riyadh and Paris on France’s National Day, the Middle East’s leading English-language newspaper tonight launches Arab News en Français, its third overseas edition.
The virtual launch of the Arab News en Français website on Bastille Day will take place at 6 p.m. Paris time in the presence of distinguished guests, including guest of honor Ismail Omar Guelleh, president of the French-speaking Republic of Djibouti, who will be delivering a keynote speech.
The newest edition of Arab News will be formally launched in Riyadh by François Gouyette, the French ambassador to Saudi Arabia, who is also attending the virtual event.
Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi, Saudi Arabia’s minister of commerce and investment and acting minister of media, will also give a speech at the ceremony.
Other guests at the launch — which will take place via an exclusive invitation-only Zoom video conference at 7 p.m. Riyadh time, and will be later carried on YouTube and other Arab News social media platforms — will include a large number of Saudi, Arab and French officials, diplomats and journalists.
The launch will also feature a special performance by Sawsan Al-Bahiti, Saudi Arabia’s first professional opera singer, who will sing “La Vie En Rose,” the song popularized by legendary French chanteuse Edith Piaf.
Arab News, Saudi Arabia’s first English-language newspaper, was founded in 1975 and this year is celebrating its 45th anniversary.
The launch of Arab News en Français recognizes the growing importance of creating bridges of communication between the Arab world and French-speaking countries.
The new online edition joins two other international digital editions of Arab News, which launched a Pakistan edition in February 2018 and a Japanese one in October 2019.
Tonight’s launch ceremony will introduce Randa Takieddine, the chief Paris correspondent of Arab News en Française, who will take part in the signing of a memorandum of agreement between Arab News and Experience AlUla.
In collaboration with the Paris-based French Agency for AlUla Development (Afalula), the Royal Commission for AlUla is developing the ancient Unesco World Heritage Site of Hegra and its surroundings in the dramatic landscape of western Saudi Arabia as a major international cultural destination.
The first product of the cooperation with Experience AlUla is an Arab News Deep Dive presentation, “The Rebirth of AlUla”, which is available in French
In collaboration with the Paris-based French Agency for AlUla Development (Afalula), the RCU is developing the ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra and its surroundings in the dramatic landscape of western Saudi Arabia as a major international cultural destination.
The first product of the cooperation with the RCU is an Arab News Deep Dive presentation, “The Rebirth of AlUla,” which is available in French (http://www.arabnews.fr/Alula/).
Paris was given a glimpse of the treasures of Hegra at the exhibition “AlUla: Wonder of Arabia,” which opened at the Institut du Monde Arabe in the French capital in October 2019.
The launch of the exhibition was attended by Prince Badr, Saudi Arabia’s minister of culture and governor of the RCU, and Franck Riester, the French minister of culture.
Other guests included prize-winning French architect Jean Nouvel, who is designing a luxury tourism resort for AlUla as part of a series of developments planned for the region.