Saudi Shoura Council eyes tax on tobacco products

Saudi Shoura (consultative) Council members on Wednesday raised a series of questions on the GCC selective tax project that would tax tobacco products, soft drinks and energy drinks.

SC members sought answers defining health-threatening commodities, the rate of tax and how to distinguish between the selective and added tax.

The 30-point project aims to reduce consumption of harmful commodities and minimize the spread of diseases among consumers of these items, notably youngsters.

The selective tax project has been prepared following a decision by the Supreme Council of the GCC countries, which directed each member to prepare a local law for the selective tax.

In unrelated business, Council members listened to a report presented by the committee of Human Rights and Regulatory Bodies.

In another issue, the Council asked the General Commission for Survey to take the necessary procedures to market its survey products.

Shoura members also listened to a report presented by the Committee of Water, Agriculture and Environment based on the annual report of the Saudi Grains Organization (SGO).

The Committee asked the SGO to keep government subsidies on wheat after the privatization of flourmills to ensure the arrival of wheat products to consumers at affordable prices.

One member asked for provision of 50 percent of wheat products at local market from the local farmers. Another member stressed that the role of the SGO is to realize food security through supporting wheat plantation.