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Lebanese fuming over planned shisha austerity tax

Lebanon faces a looming fiscal crisis as the economy struggles [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 May, 2019

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Lebanese authorities are considering whether to impose a tax on smoking shisha as they discuss unpopular budget cuts and austerity measures that have sparked angry protests.

Lebanon could see a new tax imposed on smoking shisha as the government discuss unpopular budget cuts and austerity measures that have sparked angry protests.

Government sources told local media on Tuesday that officials, who have been debating the cuts for weeks, have decided to impose a 1,000 Lebanese pound tax ($0.66) on every shisha consumed in a restaurant or hotel.

The sources said that officials have also agreed to put in place a two percent tax on imported goods and taxes on weapons licences and tinted car windows.

Lebanon faces a looming fiscal crisis as the economy struggles with soaring debt, rising unemployment and slow growth.

The government's tightened budget and key reforms aim to unlock billions of dollars in pledged foreign assistance.

But the planned cuts have unleashed a wave of public discontent, amid leaks that austerity could target public wages, services and social benefits.

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