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UAE SCHOOL FEES ‘SECOND HIGHEST IN THE WORLD’: HSBC STUDY

Dubai: Education in the UAE doesn’t come cheap. Parents in the country shell out nearly half a million dirhams in their lifetime just to ensure their child gets the full education they need. According to a study released by HSBC, sending a child to school in UAE, from primary to university, will cost about $99,378 (Dh365,025), the second highest in the world. The cost covers tuition fees, educational books, transport and accommodation. The figure comes second only after after Hong Kong, where parents fork out an average of $132,161 to cover school costs. The data, released by HSBC’s The Value of Education series this month, were based on the survey of more than 8,400 parents in 15 countries and territories. Families from the surveyed countries spend an average of $44,221 on child’s education, much lower than the fees incurred by households in the UAE. Education expenses are one of the biggest expenses of households worldwide. Nearly nine out of ten parents globally said they set aside their own income to cover the cost of their child’s current stage of education. About 85 per cent are also paying for their child’s university or college costs.

Only a small portion of students cover their own expenses, with 15 per cent of those still in tertiary education saying that they contribute towards funding their own education, while 16 per cent get support from the government.

“In today’s highly competitive global job market, education for young people has never been more important. Parents across the world appreciate this and are willing to invest time and money to help their children get the best start in life,” said Charlie Nunn, HSBC’s group head of wealth management.

“Their unwavering support shows in the personal, lifestyle and financial sacrifices they are making. From forfeiting ‘me time’ to giving up hobbies or reducing leisure activities, parents are going the extra mile to help their child succeed.”

With school fees increasing every year, couples who don’t have a child yet can expect the expenses to go higher once they have a baby. While it makes sense for people planning to have kids to start saving up, many are not taking steps to ensure they have funds to dip into once their child goes to school.

“Many are not planning ahead by saving to meet the significant costs associated with their child’s continuing education,” the study said.

Parents who want their child to take up a two-year postgraduate degree in engineering can expect tuition fees to reach $26,400 in UAE, $21,000 in the United States and $19,700 in Australia.

The huge majority of parents (74 per cent) admitted that they resort to using a portion of their monthly income to pay for their child’s education.

DUBAI GOLD DROPS AGAIN AS DOLLAR RECOVERS: TIME TO BUY?

Dubai: Gold got cheaper on Monday compared to a week earlier, as the bullion suffered its first setback for the month amid a recovering US dollar. Jewellery prices in Dubai slipped by about Dh2 per gram from Thursday, providing an opportunity for gold fans to score some bargains. As of 3.16pm, 24K was retailing at Dh149.50 per gram, down from Dh151.50 last week. Spot gold dropped 0.7 per cent at $1,233.16 an ounce at 1130 GMT, according to Reuters. Olen Hansen of Saxo Bank said that the precious metal continues to suffer amid the “hawkish shift in tone” from central banks last week. “The dollar is recovering, not least against the Japanese yen, while bond yields holds onto the higher levels reached last week; the stock market wobble has faded,” Hansen wrote on Monday. The precious metal is expected to remain volatile this week, according to Karim Merchant of Pure Gold Jewellers in Dubai. “As most governments including USA normalizes interest rates, gold will continue to be under pressure in the medium to long term,” said Merchant. “The dollar has weakened throughout last week and central banks including the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada have made hawkish statements about their interest rates. Political, and other related factors will keep gold price moment volatile this week.”

RIDE ALONG: NAKHEEL OPENS MONORAIL STATION ON THE PALM

Dubai: Residents and visitors at The Palm Jumeirah will now have better public transportation service, with one major station just opening up. The facility provides easy access to residents at the Golden Mile and Shoreline Apartments, some of the popular residential locations at the man-made island. It is also within easy reach of the Golden Mile Galleria mall and Palm Jumeirah’s central park. “Passengers using The Palm Monorail in Dubai can now board and alight at the newly-opened Al Ittihad Park station for easy access to Palm Jumeirah’s central park, thousands of residences [among others],” Nakheel said in a statement issued on Monday. The monorail spans along the trunk of The Palm and connects the island with Dubai mainland. It opened on 30th April 2009, mainly transporting passengers who visit the Atlantis hotel. The number of users is expected to increase, with more attractions on the island scheduled to open up soon.

MAJID AL FUTTAIM BUYS GEANT FRANCHISE OWNER IN REGION

Dubai: One of the leading retail conglomerates in the UAE has acquired the franchise owner of a popular French hypermarket brand that has nearly 30 outlets in the region. The eponymous Majid Al Futtaim, which owns a number of shopping malls, communities, retail and leisure establishments in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, announced on Thursday the acquisition of Retail Arabia. The new deal will see the Geant brand replaced by its French competitor, Carrefour and further strengthen Majid Al Futtaim’s retail presence in the region. The acquisition was agreed between the conglomerate and Retail Arabia’s parent company, BMA International. Majid Al Futtaim said that with the acquisition, all the bought Geant hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores will be rebranded and carry the Carrefour name. Retail Arabia is the franchise owner of 26 Geant stores spread across the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait, as well as four Gulfmart supermarkets in Bahrain. Only recently, Carrefour had replaced the Hyperpanda supermarket in Dubai Festival City. According to a statement, the acquisition will also see Carrefour strengthen its position in the UAE, with its store count expected to increase from 67 to 80. In Bahrain and Kuwait, the number of Carrefour stores will consequently increase to 11 and eight, respectively. With the acquisition, all the employees under Retail Arabia will be retained by Majid Al Futtaim. “This acquisition is a major milestone for Majid Al Futtaim, one which further cements Carrefour’s position as the largest and most successful grocery retailer in the region and beyond,” Alain Bejjani, chief executive officer at Majid Al Futtaim, said.

 

SUMMER PRICE DROP FOR UAE TRAVELLERS: TICKETS AS LOW AS DH1,460

Dubai: Summer holidays tend to cost dearly, especially during the months of July and August, when hundreds of thousands of residents fly out of Dubai for their annual vacation. If you have procrastinated booking your holidays, it’s not too late to secure a trip without breaking the bank. A quick roundup of various airline websites would show that there are still some great deals to be had. Flights to a number of top destinations in Europe and the Middle East cost less than Dh2,500 at one airline. If you book with a low-cost carrier, you’ll find more eye-popping deals, with economy tickets priced between Dh1,250 and Dh2,021, and business flights costing as low as Dh3,468. A return ticket for your dream trip to Prague can be had for as low as Dh2,021 on economy or Dh8,085 on business. Emirates Airlines have just posted special fares for travellers bound to Europe, United States, Australia, India and some parts of the Middle East, and these rates are valid for travel between July 10, 2017 and December 13, 2017. The offer is also expiring in eight days. Return trips from Dubai to Delhi can be had for only Dh1,460. Cairo flights cost Dh1,560, while fares for trips bound to Larnaca and Munich cost less than Dh2,500.

DUBAI LANDLORDS OFFER ‘FREE’ RENT, MULTI CHEQUES

Dubai: Landlords in Dubai aren’t just open to accepting multiple cheques and reducing lease rates, they are also offering rent-free periods just to attract tenants. Despite claims that the property sector is bottoming out or showing signs of recovery, overall rents across the emirate are still on decline. A slowdown in hiring and a sustained rise in the number of new apartments and villas continue to impact demand, prompting landlords to sweeten the deal. With fewer jobs, there are fewer people with money to pay for rent. Compounding the decline in demand is the increase in supply of new properties. Just this year alone, some 30,000 units are expected to be turned over to investors. So far, about a tenth of the number has already been delivered. As a result, according to Propertyfinder Group’s UAE Real Estate Trends 2017 report, Dubai residents have gained more negotiating power when it comes to dealing with landlords. “New tenants and their brokers have been able to negotiate concessions that were previously dismissed or largely unheard of in the Dubai market, such as rent-free periods.”

UAE FIRMS NEED TO START NOW TO MEET EU DATA PRIVACY LAW

Dubai: With two-thirds of global organisations ramping up compliance to meet the European Union data privacy regulations, the UAE faces growing urgency to adopt information management solutions this summer for compliance and better business decision-making, urged an industry expert. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will be enforced on May 25, 2018, is a vast and complicated process that requires all large and small businesses, in all regions and in all industries, to more strengthen protection of personal data of all EU citizens in 28 member states. The European Parliament adopted the GDPR in April last year and has already been ratified into the UK law, thus replacing an outdated data protection directive from 1995. With less than 12 months to act, Savitha Bhaskar, chief operating officer at UAE-based IT infrastructure and information management consultancy and solutions provider Condo Protego, said that there’s still a worrying number of businesses that barely know about the regulation. According to a recent GDPR report by information management company Veritas, vast majority of organisations worldwide (86 per cent) are concerned about meeting GDPR guidelines, and two-thirds (65 per cent) of organisations are working with third parties on GDPR compliance. Bhaskar said that many of the UAE organisations do not know if they are GDPR compliant, this summer is vital to begin their compliance, or risk falling behind and facing penalties. She said that any organisation that does business in or holds data on residents in the European Union needs to be able to secure, identify, and delete personal data. If not fully compliant when GDPR goes into effect, organisations face fines of 20 million euros or four per cent of revenue. While the originator of data remains the owner, under GDPR anyone who processes that data is also responsible. If a tech company houses, handles or exchanges the personal data of any EU citizen it is required to be GDPR compliant. “GDPR defines accountability for data protection across the board and companies will have to clearly define responsibilities and liabilities among partners,” she said. “The companies in the UAE need to start getting a plan into place as it cannot be done overnight. It will take around three to six months to think how compliant their businesses are and will take another three months to fortify our systems and another three months to roll out the infrastructure,” she said. As of now, she said that there are lot of companies struggling in the EU to meet the deadline and many consultancy reports have also said it but in the region, many companies have pretty good IT infrastructure when compared to many other countries.

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