Starting today, October 1, Oman will levy a 50 per cent tax on sweetened drinks, including ready-to-drink beverages containing added sugar or sweeteners or any form of sugar.
According to the Oman Tax Authority, canned juices, fruit drinks, sports drinks and ready-to-drink tea and coffee fall under the new tax.
Cent per cent natural fruit juices, milk and its derivatives containing a ratio of not less than 75 per cent milk, and laban are excluded from the new health tax. Nutritional supplements, drinks for dietary purposes and those for medical use are also excluded from the tax.
Oman had levied a 100 per cent tax on alcohol last year, which was rolled back and re-imposed in July 2020. ‘The Oman Taxi Authority emphasises the need for importers of goods subject to excise tax (including sweetened beverages) to verify the presence of the products they import in the list of taxable products on its online portal,’ the authority said in a statement.
While the tax will have an effect on people’s pockets, it has been welcomed by many. “This is a good move. I believe it will discourage the addiction to such damaging drinks. Consumption of these drinks among our children and youth in Oman is very high. With the tax, intake may reduce,” said Hamed al Dhawi, a retired private sector employee.
Nabila al Naamani, who says she is ‘addicted’ to such drinks, said, “I have always wanted to cut down on sugary drinks. This tax comes as a motivation. People should consider it a blessing; the government takes good care of its people. Imposing such a tax will create awareness about the dangers of sugary drinks.”