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French Version


VAT causes 4.3 percent hike in CPI - Report provides details of rising prices (Daily Star)

Lebanon’s consumer price index last year rose by 4.3 percent from 2001 due to the introduction of the 10 percent value-added tax (VAT) in February 2002, the Central Administration for Statistics said in its latest report.

“The introduction of the VAT led to a 4.3 percent increase in prices between December 2001 and December 2002,” said the report, dated Aug. 5.

The index rose by 5.4 percent in December 2002 from December 1998, the report added. The government levied the VAT last year to shore up government revenue, which began declining after broad cuts in customs duties in late 2000.

Prime Minister Rafik Hariri last week proposed raising the VAT from 10 percent to 16 percent and abolishing the income tax to help raise government revenue and establish a tax base more equitable to the poor.

The Central Administration’s report said prices did not rise by 10 percent in 2002, despite the introduction of VAT, because the government exempted a number of consumer items and services from the tax.

But the costs of some goods and services increased by more than 10 percent in 2002, led by transport and energy costs. “The highest increase was recorded in the transport and communication sector, where prices rose by 19.2 percent due to the increase in prices of energy and transport,” said the report.

Soaring oil prices and the ban on cheap diesel fuel oil in 2002 has increased transport costs in Lebanon, where the annual oil import bill topped $1 billion in 2002.

The cost of personal hygiene products and clothes in 2002 also rose by around 9 percent, compared with the previous year, the report added. Price of entertainment products rose by 4.7 percent in 2002, compared to the previous year.

Beirut 18-08-2003
Dania Saadi
The Daily Star



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