Oman to introduce 5% VAT within six months

The sultanate intended to impose five percent VAT in 2018, but postponed it until 2020. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 12 October 2020

Oman to introduce 5% VAT within six months

  • The tax is expected to have limited impact on living costs

DUBAI: The Sultan of Oman, Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said, issued a decree on Monday to start imposing a five percent value-added tax (VAT) within six months.
Oman News Agency said that a law was also issued to amend some provisions of the Criminal Procedures Law, and that the VAT law will be imposed on most goods and services, with some exceptions.
The government said it will have a limited impact on the cost of living.
The tax will be applied 100 percent on tobacco and its derivatives, energy drinks, alcoholic beverages and pork, while 50 percent will be applied to soft drinks based on their retail price.
The sultanate intended to impose five percent VAT in 2018, but postponed it until 2020.
The law is part of a broader 2016 agreement between all six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Saudi Arabia. The UAE and Bahrain have already implemented the five percent VAT law.


Hundreds of Syrians exit Lebanese town over tensions: UN

Updated 27 November 2020

Hundreds of Syrians exit Lebanese town over tensions: UN

  • UNHCR spokesperson: ‘Collective punishment... for a whole community for an incident involving one individual is unacceptable’
  • Those who fled, said they were chased out of Bsharre, a Christian-majority town, after a Syrian was accused of shooting dead a Lebanese resident

TRIPOLI, Lebanon: At least 270 Syrian families have left a north Lebanon town, as hostility toward them mounted over a murder allegedly committed by a Syrian national, the UN refugee agency said Friday.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees condemned “collective reprisals against Syrians in the town,” of Bsharre, saying many of the families fled in fear without taking their belongings.
“Collective punishment... for a whole community for an incident involving one individual is unacceptable,” a UNHCR spokesperson said in a statement.
Many of those who fled the Christian-majority town said they were chased out by Bsharre residents after a Syrian on Monday was accused of shooting dead a Lebanese resident, sparking widespread tension and hostility.
Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported forced evictions of Syrians in the wake of the murder, but Bsharre’s mayor denied that the Syrians had left out of fear.
An AFP correspondent in Tripoli saw dozens of Syrian families gathering outside a UNHCR building in the northern city.
A group of young men in Bsharre “assaulted us, threatened us and started a fire” in the house, Umm Khaled, a 31-year-old Syrian mother of five told AFP.
“We picked up our children and ran away to Tripoli,” located more than 40 kilometers (25 miles) east, she said.
Yassin Hassan, a 30-year-old Syrian who had lived in Bsharre for years, said he was beaten by a group of men.
“We ran away... without taking anything from our homes,” he told AFP.
Tripoli is among the most welcoming destinations in Lebanon for refugees.
Lebanon, which is grappling with an economic crisis, says it hosts some 1.5 million Syrians, including around one million registered as refugees with the United Nations.
UNHCR said it received “a large number of refugees from Bsharre” in its Tripoli reception center.
They were encouraged to find alternative housing but those with nowhere to stay were moved to shelters, a spokesperson told AFP.
The reasons behind the murder that fueled anti-Syrian sentiments in Bsharre remains shrouded in mystery.
The Syrian suspect in question has handed himself over to authorities, the army said.
A judicial source said investigations were still underway.
The mayor of Bsharre says the town is home to nearly a thousand Syrians.
Authorities have called on refugees to return to Syria even though rights groups warn that the war-torn country is not yet safe.