Too early to evaluate impact of VAT on economy, says UAE minister

The country expects to boost its GDP to Dh1.5 trillion this year

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, February 11, 2020.  
   Federal National Council (FNC) representative Hamad Al Rahoomi during the FNC Session.
Victor Besa / The National
Section:  NA
Reporter:  Haneen Dajani

A senior UAE minister has said it is too early to determine the full impact of VAT on the country’s economy.

Obaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, said more time was needed to properly assess the new levy, introduced in 2018.

Addressing an FNC session on Tuesday, he said business confidence in the Emirates was high.

He also pointed to investments in the UAE being on the rise and that 300,000 companies had already registered to pay the tax.

“All commercial entities whose [sales] exceed Dh375,000 are obliged to register for VAT,” he said.

“Right now, there is no way to distinguish between the effects of VAT and the changes going on around us in the [economic] sector.”

The UAE expects a Dh37 billion boost to its gross domestic product this year, reaching a total of some Dh1.5 trillion.

Mr Al Tayer argued this in itself was a clear indicator that the introduction of VAT had not had a detrimental impact.

The FNC’s deputy speaker, Hamad Al Rahoomi, however, warned of the potential for consumers to be hit by rising prices.

“When a business owner’s costs increase he has two options,” he told the session.

“Either cut his profit or impose the extra cost on the consumer, and they automatically impose it on the consumer.

“So we don’t want to be in denial and say there are no consequences from VAT. We want to deliver the message."