Egypt’s minister of finance: Egyptian consumers have enough money to pay taxes

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In televised statements, on Saturday, Egyptian Finance Minister Mohamed Maait justified the government’s decision to impose more taxes and fees on some goods and services, saying that consumers have enough money to pay.

Maait added that the new taxes will be imposed on foreign films and ballet performances, saying: “A 5% tax was imposed on concerts, with a minimum of 20 Egyptian pounds. Whoever enters such concerts is willing to pay. Whoever pays two thousand Egyptian pounds for a concert has no problem with paying 5% more, right?”

Maait, who had confirmed in three previous statements during the past months that there was no intention to impose more taxes, added that the consumer of goods such as soft drinks, and other imported goods, will not be stopped by the tax from buying them. Maait had also justified the same decision a few days ago, saying that the severe inflation prompted the ministry to search for additional resources away from directly adding burdens on citizens.

He explained that imposing a fee of 5% of the value of the final product of soft drinks is in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organization, especially since these drinks lead to obesity, stressing that he did not impose fees on Egyptian theater plays or films. He stressed that the amendments included imposing duties on non-essential and unnecessary goods at the rate of 10% of the invoice value for customs purposes, in addition to the customs tax.

The House of Representatives had approved a government proposal to amend several tax laws, such as laws regulating stamps, entertainment venues, and amusement parks, and other amendments related to fees for developing state resources. This comes despite Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly’s pledge in April, at the launch of the second phase of the Economic Reform Program, that the phase would not include measures that would increase the burden on citizens. However, the tax on detergents, soap, oils and ghee was increased. Also, a tax of 3% of the value of each commodity purchased from duty-free markets, including one liter of spirits, was imposed, in addition to the collection of 10% of the value of each additional authorized liter.

The increases included 2% of the value of the final product for durable goods of all kinds, and 5% of the value of the final product for soft drinks. The contribution of tax revenues to supporting the revenues of the general budget increased during the first four months of the current fiscal year, to reach 78.8%, compared to 75% in the previous fiscal year, where the total budget revenues amounted to about 311.3 billion Egyptian pounds, of which 245.2 billion were from taxes.