Increase in Tax on Liquor and Energy Drinks – Amendment to the Export/Import Act

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has ratified the 17th Amendment Bill to the Export-Import Act of Maldives (Act No. 31/79), which was passed by the Parliament on 15th July at the 20th ‎sitting of its ‎second session. This sees an increase in the tax on all tobacco products imported to the country. The changes brought will be effective from the 1st of August 2020.

Along with a 25% tax, MVR50 will be charged per liter of alcohol. While 25% tax plus MVR15 is charged on a liter of alcoholic non-sparkling wine, MVR15 is charged on a liter of alcoholic beer. Further, taxes on energy drinks and soft drinks have nearly doubled to MVR60 per liter and MVR8 per liter. The tax imposed weed joint increased from 0% to 200% and tax on e-cigarettes also increased dramatically to 200%.

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The amendments include no export duty imposed on products manufactured and grown in the Maldives except products listed under the 3rd section of the Import-Export Act. Under this section, 50% export duty from the FOB price will be charged from ambergris and a 5% royalty will be charged from the FOB price of goods re-exported for business.

Further, there is a 50% waiver on import duties on all goods, excluding those listed in the 7th section of this act (tobacco, alcohol, pork), imported to any formal Seaport or Airport apart from ports in the Male’ Region. This applies to goods that will be transported out of the warehouse or the island of the port. The waiver also needs to be requested to the Maldives Customer Service.

A revenue fee of MVR1 will be charged from every MVR100 by the government from the price Maldives Customs Service allocates for all the goods imported, exported, or re-exported from the Maldives. According to the Act, 3% of the proceeds from the import-duty imposed on tobacco and cigarettes, go to the public health fund to carry out anti-tobacco public awareness campaigns under the Public Health Protection Act 2012/7. Moreover, from January 1, 2021, the import of single-use plastic will be prohibited under section 7 of the Import-Export Act.

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