Egypt raises import taxes on luxury goods

The Egyptian government has increased import duties on 100 "unnecessary" goods as part of its ongoing efforts to revive the nation's ailing economy.  

The decree sees tariffs raised by 5 to 40 per cent on a wide range of luxury goods including sunglasses, chewing gum, gambling tables, boats, video games and fireworks.

Hardest hit are the more-exotic foodstuffs such as caviar, shrimps, pineapples, melons and avocados, whose import tariffs have been increased by 40 per cent, however tariffs on imported electric or natural gas-run cars will be reduced by 25 per cent.

The weakening Egyptian pound, which has fallen by over 8 per cent since December, has driven up the cost of food in Egypt, particularly wheat and other food imports paid for in dollars.

The country’s budget deficit is largely due to the sharp decline in its crucial tourism sector since the revolution that overthrew former president Hosni Mubarak two years ago.

It is not yet clear how much money the government expects to raise with the duty increases.