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Saudi, UAE introduce VAT in first for Gulf

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates introduced value-added tax from Monday, a first for the Gulf which has long prided itself on its tax-free, cradle-to-grave welfare system. Saudi Arabia compounded the New Year blow for motorists with an unannounced hike of up to 127 percent in petrol prices with immediate effect from midnight. They are the latest in a series of measures introduced by Gulf oil producers over the past two years to boost revenues and cut spending as a persistent slump in world prices has…

ECC approves export of additional 0.3m tonnes of sugar

ISLAMABAD: Economic Coordination Committee of the federal cabinet on Tuesday approved the export of additional 0.3 million metric tonnes (MMT) of sugar. The meeting chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar made the decision in addition to the export quantity already approved, keeping in view the recommendations of the inter-ministerial committee, constituted by the prime minister, and the Sugar Advisory Board. The export quota would be approved and monitored by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on first come first serve…

Tax-free days ending for Saudis after oil slump

RIYADH: Tax-free living will soon be a thing of the past for Saudis after cabinet on Monday approved an IMF-backed value-added tax to be imposed across the Gulf following an oil slump. Residents of the energy-rich region had long enjoyed a tax-free and heavily subsidised existence but the collapse in crude prices since 2014 sparked cutbacks and a search for new revenue. Saudi Arabia is the world's biggest oil exporter and the largest economy in the Arab region. It froze major building projects, cut cabinet…

IMF announces $1.5bn loan for Sri Lanka

COLOMBO: The IMF has agreed a $1.5 billion loan for Sri Lanka in support of economic reforms aimed at reversing a two-decade decline in tax revenue and reviving growth, it said Friday.