Tuesday, 19 Nov 2019 | 22 Rabi Al Awwal 1441
‘Selective tax on tobacco, alcohol, energy and soft drinks soon’

‘Selective tax on tobacco, alcohol, energy and soft drinks soon’

With its implementation, costs of tobacco goods, alcoholic beverages and power drinks will double as it will attract an excise tax of 100 per cent, whilst tax will go up by 50 per cent on fizzy drinks.

The GCC framework on ‘Unified Selective Excise Tax’ is anticipated to be formally ratified this year, following it was reviewed and endorsed by the Majlis A’Shura and the State Council at the finish of 2018.

Speaking to Muscat Daily
, Dr Jawad al Lawati, rapporteur at the National Tobacco Control Committee (NTCC), stated that with the exception of Oman and Kuwait, all GCC states have ratified and implemented the selective excise tax. “As it has already been vetted by the Majlis A’Shura and State Council, only a Royal Decree is awaited for it to become a law,” he stated.

Dr Lawati added that Qatar implemented the excise tax this year but it went 1 step additional and has added pork goods to the list, apart from tobacco, alcohol, power and carbonated drinks.

Dubbed as ‘sin tax’, the excise tax to be imposed on chosen goods and beverages, observed to have a level of harm related with their consumption, was very first unveiled in Oman’s 2017 price range.

The step is primarily based on the choice taken by the Supreme Council of GCC at its 36th session held in Riyadh in 2015.

Following this, Saudi Arabia introduced the excise tax in June 2017, followed by the UAE from October and Bahrain from December 30 the exact same year.

Dr Lawati was recognised for his efforts in fighting tobacco use in Oman and getting the focal point for tobacco cessation initiatives in the nation by WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean on Monday.

The appreciation memento was handed more than by Dr Akjemal Magtymova, WHO representative to Oman, at a workshop on the implementation of tobacco taxes in Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) nations at Radisson Blu Hotel.

The ceremony was attended by H E Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Obaid al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health, and H E Eng Mohsin bin Mohammed al Sheikh, Chairman of Muscat Municipality.

The 3-day workshop, which concluded on Tuesday, aimed at analysing the status of taxation in every of the EMR nations, familiarising the participants with the WHO suggestions in the region of tobacco taxes, introducing the use of WHO tool for measuring of taxation effect and policies. It also aims to improve the participants’ understanding about very best practices and other countries’ experiences in relation to taxation improve such as facing the techniques of the tobacco market in this regard, as nicely as discussing and agreeing on feasible scenarios of way forward for tobacco taxation policies at the national level.

Dr Akjemal stated that in July 2017, WHO released the sixth edition of its Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic that presented an alarming image for EMR.

“Compared with other regions, EMR has a very high average smoking prevalence among men and is the only region that is expected not to see a decline in smoking prevalence till 2025. According to current projections, smoking prevalence in EMR will increase between 2010 and 2025 unless something drastic is done,” Dr Akjemal stated.

Dr Sulaiman al Dhakheel, basic manager of the Gulf Health Council, stated that escalating the taxation is the most successful approach to decrease tobacco use and demand.

He added that the typical cost of tobacco in EMR is lowest in comparison to other regions. A ten per cent improve in tobacco taxes leads to a 4 per cent reduction in consumption in the higher-earnings nations and eight per cent in the low-and middle-earnings nations, he added.

Information Source: Muscat Daily

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