Qatar has introduced a heavy sin tax on all alcohol – with prices skyrocketing pretty much overnight. Bad news for those booze lovers heading to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The country has introduced a 100% booze tax, effective from 1 January 2019.
The “sin” tax is being introduced just weeks after the conservative Muslim Gulf state announced in its annual budget statement that it would introduce a levy on “health-damaging goods”.
The policy was revealed by the Qatar Distribution Company, the country’s only alcohol store, in a 30-page list of new prices for beer, wines and spirits, citing the introduction of a 100 per cent “excise tax”.
The list was widely shared on social media and showed drinks doubling in price overnight, as it detailed charges.
When asked if the document was genuine, a government spokesman told AFP: “it is true”.
With the new levy, a 100cl bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin will now cost 340 Qatari riyals ($93, 81 euros) and a 750ml of Shiraz wine from South Africa will be sold for 86 riyals ($23, 20 euros)… or about R380.
A 24-pack of Heineken 330ml beers will now cost 384 riyals ($105, 92 euros).
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.
The issue of alcohol is likely to be a sensitive subject in the run-up to the World Cup in four years’ time.
Tournament organisers in Qatar have said alcohol will be available for fans in designated areas, but not in public spaces, out of respect for the country’s traditions.
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