Qatar: Alcohol Tax Hike Introduced
The government of Qatar has introduced a 100% percent tax on alcohol, starting January 1. The implementation of the tax is a result of the recently adopted annual budget, that included taxes on health-damaging goods.
The policy was made public by the Qatar Distribution Company, the country’s only alcohol store, in a 30-page list of new prices for alcohol products, citing the introduction of a 100% excise tax. As of January 1, 2019, the prices for alcohol products doubled.
It is legal to buy alcohol in Qatar with a permit, and also to drink in licenced bars, clubs and hotels — although drinking in public is banned.
Alcohol taxation – a best buy alcohol policy solution
In contrast to Big Alcohol claims, alcohol taxation is endorsed by the World Health Organization as a best buy measure in reducing and preventing alcohol-related harm.
For example, a study of 42 high-, middle- and low-income countries found that raising excise duties on alcohol to at least 40% of the total retail price would increase tax revenue in these countries by 80% to US$ 77 Billion. Expressed as a proportion of total current spending on health, it is low-income countries that have most to gain (additional receipts would amount to 38% of total current spending on health).
Implementation of evidence-based alcohol taxation is also likely to have a net positive effect on employment, as consumers divert their spending on other (healthier) products, services and needs.