Azerbaijan taxes cash outflows as oil price drop bites

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Azerbaijan is to introduce a 20 percent tax on money transfers abroad as the low oil price causes economic pain in the energy-rich ex-Soviet nation.

The parliament voted Tuesday to introduce the tax, which is aimed at stopping Azerbaijani citizens and companies from putting their savings into foreign property and securities.

So far this month, Azerbaijan has also announced strict controls on the price of bread and flour as well as pay rises for government workers and a three-year tax holiday on money kept by individuals in Azerbaijani banks.

Unrest is typically rare in Azerbaijan but last week, prosecutors reported 55 people had been detained following protests which the opposition said were caused by price hikes following sharp devaluations of the currency last year.

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