Are you a consumer of tobacco or alcohol products? If so, you could be shelling out almost twice as much money in order to purchase these products soon.
Speaking to Arabic daily Al Shabiba, a source from the Ministry of Finance, said: “Cigarettes, alcohol and other ‘unhealthy products’ will soon see a tax increase in Oman.”
Earlier this month, news that the price of cigarettes and alcohol had increased at airports in Oman surfaced after the Royal Oman Police (ROP) amended its customs provisions. However, prices will now be hiked across the country.
“A ‘selective tax agreement’ has been signed by ministers at the Financial and Economic Cooperation Council of the GCC, which is expected to be applied during the current year in the Sultanate,” the source was quoted as saying.
He added that the “selective tax” would only be applied on health deteriorating products, which cost the Sultanate “vast amounts in medical treatment”.
The selective tax comes in the light of the county’s plans to diversify income and reduce state spending on health treatments, as well as the introduction of a VAT tax next year.
This week, Y is highlighting the effects of cancer in Oman, and we learnt that lung cancer – a disease in which 97 per cent of those diagnosed are smokers – is expected to become the most common cancer over the next five years.
“Tobacco, alcohol, pork products, soft drinks and energy drinks” are all part of the ban as agreed by the GCC, and more products are due to join the list soon,” the source told Al Shabiba.
More details on the price hike will be revealed soon by the Secretariat General for Taxation at the Ministry of Finance, but the tax rate has been set between 50 and 100 per cent, according to the current agreement.
Marwan Mohammed, a Muscat-based resident, said: “You have to balance things. If you are increasing the price of one commodity, you have to increase our salaries, too. How do you think that we will survive if the Government keeps on increasing the load on our heads?
“Imagine the plight of people who are earning minimum wage. They should keep in mind that people are getting frustrated by this. It’s becoming very hard to live in Oman,” he said.