Importance of Selective Tax in Promoting Healthy Lifestyle, Addressing Negative Phenomena,Practices

Muscat, The Selective Tax seeks to achieve a range of goals, including promoting healthy lifestyles, addressing negative phenomena and practices by modifying the consumption pattern of individuals and providing an additional source of public finance through the possibility of reorienting the tax revenue collected to strengthen health and social services.

The Selective Tax Law comes as a result of the GCC Standard Agreement on Selective Tax, issued in 2016. It is applied by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the State of Qatar. The tax shall be levied on goods that cause damages to the public health or environment in varying proportions.

The National Health Data / Survey of Non-Communicable Diseases and Risk Factors, carried out by the Ministry of Health and covered more than 9,000 people, revealed a number of indicators that are considered a risk factor affecting human health and society. The number of people with diabetes has exceeded 66 percent. In addition, the percentage of people with diabetes in 10 years (2008-2018) has increased to more than 3 percent, with more than 7,500 diabetics in the Sultanate annually.

The survey also revealed that 8.5 percent of adults aged 18 and above are currently using or smoking tobacco. Omani males are 14 percent higher. 38.6 percent are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work.

The commodities covered by the selective tax are included in the GCC unified tariff tables, namely tobacco and its derivatives by 100 percent and energy drinks (including any beverages marketed or sold as energy drinks that may contain stimulants or provide mental or physical stimulation) the tax is 100 percent, alcohol and pork 100 percent, and soft drinks containing beverages containing gas, excluding non-flavored gas, are 50 percent.

The Selective Tax Law in the Sultanate was referred to the Council of Ministers on May 1st 2018 and to the Council of Oman. The State Council and the State Council and Majlis A'Shura approved the draft law and submitted it to His Majesty the Sultan in July 2018.

The draft law was returned to the Council of Oman for a joint session between the State Council and Majlis A'Shura to discuss and approve the articles in dispute.

The two councils held a joint session to discuss and approve the articles in dispute in November 2018.

Source: Oman News Agency