The UAE’s Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has announced the postponement of the implementation of the ban on supplying, transferring, storing, and possessing electronic cigarettes without digital tax stamps until to January 1, 2021.
The ban was previously scheduled to come into effect from June 1, 2020, in line with phase two of the ‘Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme’, the FTA said in a statement on Tuesday, according to the official news agency WAM. The ban also includes water pipe tobacco.
“This extension on the timeline provides them with seven additional months to prepare for the mandatory implementation of the ban,” said FTA director-general Khaled Ali Al Bustani, according to a story in gulfbusiness.com.
“It also comes in response to the concerns expressed by stakeholders in the tobacco sector, and their requests for such an extension that would allow them to sort out any issues resulting from the current difficult circumstances and the necessary precautionary measures that were enforced to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The decision provides them enough time to sell off any remaining tobacco products that do not carry the digital tax stamps.”
As part of the Covid-19 pandemic, restaurants and cafes across the country were temporarily closed and hence there is an existing stockpile of water pipe tobacco and electrically heated cigarettes in the UAE.
“The FTA has consulted all relevant business sectors, as well as the operator of the Scheme’s electronic system, and reassured all stakeholders that it fully understands the difficulties brought on by the current crisis, asserting its commitment to minimising the impact of the ban on businesses, and encouraging them to comply with tax procedures and legislation,” added Al Bustani.
The UAE banned the import of electric cigarettes and water pipe tobacco without ‘digital tax stamps’ from March 1.