“Applying the excise tax on Bahraini traditional sweets (Halwa) might put an end to 170 years of distinct production of local cuisine,” sweets factory owners and workers in the food and confectionery sector told Albilad newspaper.

They noted that these very popular sweets are no longer an ordinary dish that is presented on occasions only. They assured these sweets were exceeded being just sweets or an ordinary dish as, they noted, were linked to the history and heritage of Bahrain. They assured that Bahrain’s traditional markets were packed with tourists from all over the world seeking for the best types of these sweets.

Owners and workers confirmed that tourists and even the regular visitors who come to visit or to work buy various types of these folk sweets as a gift back to their family.

They added that the price of these folk sweets ranges between BD3 and BD6 depending on the weight, specifications and the types of nuts added to it. In case of applying the excise tax, they assured, the price would go up and demand would go less.

It is worth mentioning that the Ministry of Finance and the National Revenue has neither confirmed nor denied that there was an intention to impose this tax. It is noteworthy that the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arabic Emirates (UAE) imposed a excise tax at the beginning of 2018 on soft drinks by 50%, and on energy drinks, tobacco and its derivatives at 100%.

KSA and UAE charged excise tax on sweetened drinks and sweets, of which sugar forms more than 75% of ingredients since last December. The decision, in KSA and UAE, included soda, electronic cigarettes and all drinks with added sugar as part of its efforts to boost non-oil revenue.

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