Middle East

Emirates approves new ‘sin tax’ to boost government revenue

The United Arab Emirates has issued a new law that imposes taxes on tobacco products, energy drinks and soft drinks to boost revenue and help offset the impact of lower oil prices.

President of the UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan approved the tax decree Monday. Abu Dhabi’s The National news website reports that tobacco and energy drinks will be taxed at 100 percent and soft drinks at 50 percent.

The move follows Saudi Arabia’s imposition of the tax in June. The gradual introduction of such taxes is part of a region-wide effort in the Gulf to diversify revenue streams away from oil.

Persistently lower oil revenues have forced oil exporting countries to consolidate spending, particularly in the Gulf where citizens have grown accustomed to generous perks and subsidies.

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