The parliament on Tuesday accepted the amendment to the Export Import Act to charge higher import duties from cigarettes and energy drinks than the amounts specified in the State Budget 2017.
Lobbied by member of government coalition Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) and lawmaker of Kudahuvadhoo constituency Ahmed Amir, the bill was accepted with 51 out of 64 members present in the parliament sitting voting in favour. Nine lawmakers had voted against the bill while three remained neutral.
The bill has now been forwarded to the parliament general committee for further review.
The proposed amendment seeks to charge MVR 4.60 from soft drinks and energy drinks, and increase the duty of cigarettes from MVR 1.25 to MVR 2. Amir stated that the objective of the amendment is to encourage minimising the consumption of unhealthy products.
Increasing the import duties of soft drinks, energy drinks and cigarettes was included in this year’s state budget as part of the government’s plans to increase state revenue. However, these amendments to the Export Import Act seek higher taxes than what is specified in the budget.
The government also aims to earn a revenue of MVR 200 million from increased taxes on cigarettes, which pitches a box of cigarettes from its former cost of MVR 48 to MVR 65-70.