Thursday, December 19, 2013
In case you missed it, back on the 21st of November, Reuters published a story detailing a proposed 2% tax to be levied on all expatriate workers remittances here in Oman. The good journalists at the ToO followed this up with their own article (which they stated was reprinted from Reuters, except it's been modified and edited - tut tut).

The crux of the story is this:

The economic and financial committee that advises the Shura Council has advised that a 2% tax should be levied on all remittances made by expatriates only, estimating that this would generate approximately RO 62 million in revenues for the states coffers.

This suggestion was formally rejected by the Shura Council the day before yesterday with members of the council choosing to shelve the proposal. Thankfully, Sayyid Hamad al Busaidi very clearly stated that should any such tax be imposed in the future, it should target everyone, and not just expats. Just taxing expatriates would cause a whole bunch of issues, and in it's roots, is horrendously racist anyway - good call on clearing that up guys!

And so, we can breathe easy again, for now. But it'll happen eventually, I'm sure of it. I think we'll probably see the cost of petrol go up before we see actual taxes imposed first though - and I'm predicting that in 2014 we'll see the cost of fuel go from 120bz/liter to somewhere over 135bz/liter - who knows.

Now, as blogged right here on ze blog back in May 2013, the case about fake MAN truck parts being sold was concluded this week, with 8 Asian expatriates charged on 3 counts:

1. Cheating consumers regarding goods sold: 1 year in jail (deportation on completion of sentence) and RO 200 fine
2. Infringing the right of consumers to obtain accurate information of the goods: RO 5,000 fine
2. Deceiving consumers vis a vis the actual goods sold: RO 2,300 fine.

This activity had been going on for 15 years, and these 8 people caught were only fined RO 7,500 each and just 1 year in jail.... one may think that's not a bad price to pay for 15 years of skimming profits. It is worth noting that only 6 of the 8 charged were present - so I wonder, did the other 2 do a runner? Should the penalties be reviewed to grant judges more power to hand out stiffer sentences as a deterrence in future?

It's also worth noting that at the time of the seizure, 36,818 fake parts were taken as existing inventory. Let's assume a minimum profit of RO 5 per part (the fake part profit, up to the original purchase price of the "original" part) for those items, thats a little under RO 185,000 - obviously a nice little earner for the 15 years they ran this scam for.

Interesting times in the courts these days!

le fin.


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