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Oman to double the price of booze, cigarettes, energy drinks with new 'sin tax'

Oman is pushing for more tourists to visit the sultanate [Oman Tourism]

Date of publication: 14 March, 2019

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Oman is to introduce a new sin tax on energy drinks, cigarettes and alcohol.

 

Oman will double the price of cigarettes, alcohol and energy drinks from June, with a new "sin tax" announced on Thursday to combat obesity and bring in more cash for the treasury.

Prices of the goods will increase by 100 percent in three weeks, after a royal decree was passed on Thursday, which follows similar sin tax increases other Gulf states.

Oman's Government Communication Centre argues that the tax increases on cigarettes and alcohol will help combat health risks associated with the vices.

"Selective taxation seeks to achieve a set of objectives, the most important of which is the promotion of healthy lifestyles, the treatment of negative phenomena... and an additional resource for public finances through the possibility of the tax revenues collected to promote health and social services," is said in a statement.

Oman is already a relatively expensive destination for alcohol, with the average price of a beer around $8.60 a pint, mostly available at licensed hotels. 

The country is making a big push to increase tourism, as it attempts to diversify its economy away with oil and gas.

It predicts the number of tourists coming to the country will increase by around five percent annually until 2023.

The price increases comes as part of a GCC initiative to raise taxes for harmful goods across the Gulf bloc.

The price of alcohol and cigarettes doubled in Qatar at the start of the year, while the UAE made a similar announcement in 2017.

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