Expats in Qatar shocked as cost of beer doubles overnight

Published:  3 Jan at 6 PM
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Expats living and working in Qatar woke to a New Year shock as the news of a 100 per cent increase in the price of beer spread through the expat community.

Qatar’s lawmakers may well have had a happy New Year celebration, but their new tax didn’t to much for the emirate’s expatriate community. A good number of residents are labelling the massive extra charge as a ‘sin tax’, as it and other tax increases target products prohibited under Islamic law. As well as alcoholic drinks, the swinging tax also affects pork, energy drinks and all tobacco products, and a 50 per cent tax has also been imposed on all soft drinks.

Expats are the only members of Qatar society allowed to drink alcohol, and are limited to its purchase at a few high-end resorts, restaurants and hotels as well as at one store located on Doha’s outskirts. The population of Qatar is estimated to comprise 88 per cent of foreigners, most of whom live comfortably with the alcohol ban, but the new law seems to be a step too far. Until New Year’s Eve, the new tax was a well-kept secret but, as rumours began to circulate on social media, the rush to stock up before the price doubled began in earnest.

According to a statement from Qatar’s Customs General Authority, the tax has been brought in on specific goods which are deemed harmful to both the environment and human health. Revenues from the tax increase will be reinvested by the government in hospitals, schools and other institutions deemed to be essential public services. For those worried about the tax’s effect on football fans arriving for the 2022 World Cup, the organisers have announced alcoholic drinks will only be available in designated spaces.
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