EconSource: Qatar Moves Fiscal Year-End, Reforms Budget Policy
Qatar’s government is moving the end of its fiscal year to December 31 from March 31 and giving more power to the finance ministry in reforms designed to help the government carry out tens of billions of dollars of infrastructure projects. The state budget for the current fiscal year to March 31, which originally envisaged a 3.7 percent rise in government spending to 218.4 billion riyals ($59.98 billion), will be extended to the end of 2015. By the end of January 2015, Qatar’s budget surplus stood at more than QR 100 billion, despite the sharp decline in global oil prices. Qatar also managed to achieve QR 160 billion current account surplus in the balance of payments during the first nine months of 2014.

[Reuters, The Peninsula, 3/10/2015]

Libya shuts down two eastern oilfields for security reasons

According to oil officials, Libya has shut down two eastern oil fields due to security reasons following militant attacks on oil operations in the North African country. Only oil fields 103A and 103B were reportedly still operating. The National Oil Corporation has not published a national production figure, but oil insiders put it at about 400,000 bpd, a fraction of the 1.6 million bpd Libya pumped prior to 2011. The emergence of militants aligned with Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) have further hit Libya’s energy sector, already battered by fighting and strikes. [Reuters, 3/10/2015]

Egypt to introduce tax reforms under investment drive

According to Egypt’s investment minister, the Egyptian government plans to approve on Wednesday a lower tax ceiling for companies and individuals in high income brackets in order to attract investors and boost the economy. Under the planned tax reform, the ceiling on companies and individuals earning more than one million Egyptian pounds ($131,148) a year will be reduced from 25 percent to 22.5 percent for a period of ten years. The minister further said that a temporary 5 percent tax on wealthy individuals earning over one million Egyptian pounds ($131,061) a year will be canceled as part of the new tax regime.  [Reuters, 3/10/2015]

OECD supports Tunisia’s economic development experience

Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), stressed the organization’s commitment to support the success of the Tunisian experience in terms of development and promotion of the economy. OECD officials specifically emphasized the opportunities of cooperation in the areas of taxation and job creation. Tunisia will join the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project and the OECD Action Plan for Youth, aiming to offer young people a better start in working life. According to an OECD report, “An estimated 50 percent of employed youth in Tunisia work informally – with little or no protection and employment security while many others work on temporary contracts.”  [AllAfrica, 3/10/2015]

Also of interest:
MENA equity markets to face challenges | Cash&Trade
Ahead of Egypt investment conference, cautious optimism for economic reforms | Forbes, AP
Five challenges facing the economic conference in Sharm al-Sheikh | Ahram Online
European Commission allocates $5.3 million for aid to Iraq | IANS
EU broadens scope for Libya asset freezes, visa bans | Libya Monitor (subscription)
Jordanian taxpayers owe government JD 800 million | The Jordan Times