Middle East: taxes and expansion

Date : 05 December 2019

As the UAE implements new taxes, Majid Al Futtaim commits to further expansion and Al Meera looks to spotlight its locally sourced ranges, we round up news from the region.

UAE expands tax coverage on certain products

The UAE has implemented tax changes on certain products as it looks to improve the nation’s health. The country said it had implemented a 50% tax on non-fizzy drinks that have added sugar or sweeteners and a 100% tax on e-cigarettes and vaping liquid. The UAE has also introduced a minimum pricing for cigarettes, which means they cannot be sold for less than AED0.40 (US$0.11). This means a pack of 20 cigarettes must cost at least AED8 (US$2.20). The taxes extend to water pipe tobacco for shisha as well.

Majid Al Futtaim to sustain investment programme…

In an interview with Reuters, Majid Al Futtaim’s chief executive, Alain Bejjani, said the retailer was set to invest to expand its presence in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and Uganda. While much of the money will be spent growing its lifestyle brands, Bejjani said it would open seven Carrefour stores in Uzbekistan in 2020 and ‘on December 16 we will open a Carrefour in Uganda’.

…As its Carrefour banner launches 0% interest scheme in Bahrain

Separately, the retailer has launched in Bahrain, in conjunction with CrediMax, a 0% interest scheme for shoppers buying selected items. Carrefour will enable CrediMax cardholders or MaxWallet users who are buying electronic goods valued between BHD50 and BHD1,000 (US$132 to US$2,636) in one of its stores. Purchases have to be made before 31 March 2020.

Al Meera spotlights ‘Made in Qatar’ products

Al Meera is to highlight its support of locally produced products from small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s) through showcasing ‘Made in Qatar’ goods on its shelves. The retailer said ‘Made in Qatar’ products make up between 15% to 20% of the total goods in its stores. As part of the initiative, Al Meera said its commercial team would provide free advice to the SME’s on marketing and branding, amongst other strategic elements.