Home Asia Saudi Arabia's new 100% shisha tax sparks fury

Saudi Arabia’s new 100% shisha tax sparks fury

The furore has also been fuelled by confusion over how the tax is applied.

Author

Date

Category

- Advertisement -

A decision to impose a 100 percent on bills at restaurants that serve has ignited on social media in Saudi Arabia, where the water pipes are a popular pastime.

The furore has also been fuelled by confusion over how the tax is applied.

In the meantime, some restaurants have stopped offering shisha, while others have lowered their prices to appease customers.

The government’s official gazette said earlier this month that the tax will apply to all products.

- Advertisement -

However the ruling from the ministry of rural and municipal affairs said will apply “to the total invoice of the serving products”.

A number of restaurants and cafes contacted by AFP said they believed that the tax applies to all table orders in any establishment that serves tobacco products, whether or not the order included shisha.

The decision sparked an avalanche of criticism on social media networks where the Arabic hashtag “tax on hookah restaurants” is trending in the kingdom.

Many people posted photos of their restaurant bills, with totals of more than double the initial amount when taking into account the new 100 percent tax and a still-unpopular five percent value added tax which went into effect last year.

- Advertisement -

“Tobacco tax — controversy and confusion,” read a headline in the Al-Madina newspaper on Monday.

In the face of persistent deficits, the world’s top crude oil exporter has resorted to measures like cutting subsidies on fuel and and imposing new taxes including on cigarettes and soft drinks.

There were also suggestions that the new shisha tax could be a measure to protect public health.

“This is an indirect way to prohibit shisha without actually prohibiting it,” tweeted Electronic Lawyer, a popular commentator has more than 80,000 followers.

- Advertisement -

Other Twitter users said the new decision goes against the country’s Vision 2030 ambitions to change its ultra-conservative image and revamp the .

Encouraging and kickstarting tourism are part of a reform programme envisaged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to wean the kingdom off its reliance on oil.

Saudi columnist Bassam Fatiny criticised the size of the tax as ill-considered.

“Let assume that tax on tobacco has environmental and health benefits, is it logical that it be 100 percent!” he said on Twitter. “The ministry must have misunderstood Vision (2030).”

© Agence France-Presse

- Advertisement -
Advertisement

Popular

1MDB, SRC debts: With RM44.54b outstanding, here’s how much Putrajaya will have to pay next year

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov. 26 -- Putrajaya has to repay RM3.272 billion in in loan installments and interest on...

NASA shares pic of nebula taken by Hubble telescope. Can you spot it something else in it?

, Nov. 27 -- The vast universe is home to many nebulae of various shapes and sizes. One photograph...

Shah Rukh, Salman or Aamir: Netflix ‘Khan-not’ decide who danced better. Can you?

India, Nov. 29 -- "We honestly Khan-not decide," this is what Netflix wrote in the caption of one of...
YouTube
LinkedIn
LinkedIn
Share
Instagram