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Gulf plans to roll out value-added tax in 3 years

The six Gulf countries will exclude healthcare, education, social services and 94 food items from from the value-added tax

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Gulf states have agreed on key issues for implementing value-added tax in the region, an official from the United Arab Emirates finance ministry said on Monday.

The agreement was reached at a meeting of representatives from Gulf ministries a few days ago, Younis Haji al-Khouri, undersecretary at the UAE ministry of finance, told reporters on the sidelines of a media event.

Khouri said the target for introducing the tax was three years, and that it would take between 18 and 24 months to implement once a final agreement has been reached.

The six Gulf countries will exclude healthcare, education, social services and 94 food items from VAT once implemented, and there are a couple of areas -- including financial services -- where agreement was still lacking, Khouri added.