New customs tariffs could bring in LE1 bln per year, says official

The government hopes to earn LE1 billion in revenues by increasing the custom tariffs on certain commodities, Customs Authority head Mohamed al-Salhawy said on Monday.

President Mohamed Morsy announced on Sunday a rise in custom duties on luxury consumer goods like shrimps and other expensive commodities.

Other commodities will see a drop in tariffs, while certain others will be exempt from duties altogether. The cost of these reductions has not yet been assessed, Salhawy said.

The decision to change the tariffs was implemented as soon as it was announced, although the decree still needs to be ratified by the Shura Council to become official, the official explained.

The country is currently facing a shortage in its dollar reserves and a devaluation of the pound, which has led to a hike in food costs.

According to law, decisions regarding customs are enforced are soon as they are issued until they are reviewed by the Shura Council, which wields legislative powers. If the council rejects the adjustments, the decisions are frozen.

Customs earned LE8.2 billion during the first half of the current fiscal year 2012/13.

Salhawy said the decision is considered to be a "response to proposals by trade chambers’ public union to achieve balance between customs tariff on finished products, intermediate goods, raw materials and materials used in industry."

Edited translation from MENA

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