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REEM AL HASHEMI DISCUSSES EXPO 2020 PROGRESS WITH KHALAF AHMAD AL HABTOOR

Dubai: Reem Al Hashemi, the UAE Minister of State, and Managing Director for the Dubai World Expo 2020 Bid Committee, has discussed the progress of the upcoming Expo 2020 with Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, Founding Chairman, Al Habtoor Group, the company announced on Thursday.

The meeting took place at the Al Habtoor Group head office.

Al Hashemi briefed Al Habtoor on the progress made for the Dubai Expo 2020, whilst they discussed plans for the land that will be used for the World Expo following the event. The Expo site, which covers 438 hectares, is located within the Dubai South District, near Al Maktoum International Airport.

The minister said it was important for the government to ensure that the development is sustainable after the six-month-long exhibition, which will revolve around trade and innovation.

Al Hashemi is meeting with prominent people in the UAE to discuss plans for the site post-event. The government has invested billions of dirhams ahead of the 2020 World Expo, which is expected to draw in between 25-30 million visitors between October 2020 and April 2021, according to official statistics.

STAFF RETENTION IS BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR COMPANIES IN UAE: STUDY

Dubai: With employment opportunities still getting scarce these days, it may be easy to think that employees are no longer hopping from one job to another. But despite the job crunch, some workers are still quitting in pursuit of the proverbial greener pastures, leaving many organisations scrambling to hire replacements.

In a study among more than 300 senior HR professionals in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, about six in ten (60 per cent) in the UAE cited staff retention and talent management as the most significant areas of focus for the next two years.

Approximately two in ten (21 per cent) acknowledged that retaining employees present the biggest challenge facing their HR departments in the next 12 months alone, while talent management, employee salaries and benefits, and resourcing and recruitment figure in the top five biggest concerns.

The findings released on Wednesday alongside Hays’ latest market report, the DNA of an HR Leader, highlight the challenges faced by HR professionals in the region, as well as insights into what it takes to succeed at the top of the HR profession.

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PHILIPPINE CARRIER WAIVES REBOOKING CHARGES FOR INTERNATIONAL, DOMESTIC FLIGHTS

Dubai: UAE passengers flying with a Philippine carrier will no longer have to pay extra when they make changes to their flight bookings within 24 hours of ticket purchase.

Cebu Pacific Air, which operates flights between the UAE and the Philippines, has announced that it is waiving the rebooking charges of a little over Dh164 and Dh200 (2,300 and 2,800 pesos) on short haul and long haul international flights, respectively. The corresponding fees for domestic flights, estimated to be around Dh107 (1,500 pesos), are also being waived.

The new policy, which took effect on August 1, 2017, benefits Filipino expatriates, other flyers in the UAE and other markets, as well as domestic passengers in the Philippines.

The waiver on the rebooking and cancellations fees can be availed of by customers at all booking channels – whether the tickets are booked through a travel agent, ticket office or call centre.

“We are in the thick of reviewing our processes to see how we can improve our service to all passengers and make it easier for [everyone] to fly,” said lawyer JR Mantaring, vice president for corporate affairs of Cebu Pacific.

“Rebooking and cancellation fees have been a key concern for passengers, especially those who have been able to avail of low fares.”

However, passengers are advised that they may need to pay extra money to cover any fare difference when making changes to their bookings.

The airline has also recently made some changes to its booking systems to enable passengers to secure Manila airport terminal fee or international passenger service charge exemptions when booking via the carrier’s mobile app and website.

UAE PARENTS NEED CLOSE TO DH1 MILLION PER CHILD TO COVER EDUCATION COSTS

Dubai: Parents who raise their child in the UAE and later send them to a university outside the country can expect to spend not just hundreds of thousands, but nearly a million dirhams in their lifetime, financial experts said on Wednesday.

The latest analysis by Zurich showed that school costs for pre, primary and secondary education in the UAE alone can add up to an average of Dh528,486 per child, a slight increase on last year’s figures.

The costs don’t include miscellaneous expenses, such as books, trips and uniforms, and parents who send their child to a top tier school could see the total figure rise by up to 40 per cent.

If university costs are taken into account, parents should prepare to set aside nearly a million dirhams (Dh938,599) to cover all the necessary expenses from pre-school through to university, according to Zurich. That’s up from Dh933,945 last year.

The figures were based on the total cost of education of two years at pre-school, six years at primary school, six years at secondary school and three years at a university in the United Kingdom.

The insurer’s calculation is higher than the figures released earlier by HSBC, which said that the cost of education in UAE, from primary to university, can add up to Dh365,025, already the second highest in the world.

With the education expenses rising every year, parents would do well to plan and save up for their child’s education in advance.

“It is important to start planning early to ensure enough capital is available when your child is ready to start university. Adopting a long-term approach to savings could help fund the best education for your child without worrying about the cost,” said Walter Jopp, CEO at Zurich Middle East.

UAE BIG CLEARANCE SALE: 80% OFF DESIGNER LABELS

Dubai: In a city populated with malls and shopping centres, one can’t seem to get enough of discounts.

Just a few days after the sales at the annual Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) ended, it was announced that more than 50 designer labels are clearing their excess inventory and giving away heavily discounted shoes, bags, clothes in one venue this month.

Organisers of the Big Clearance Sale announced that several premium brands have enlisted to offer more than 80 per cent off on a wide array of merchandise.

For the second time this year, the mega sale will be held for three days starting August 24, Thursday, in the halls of the Dubai World Trade Centre.

A long list of statement designer labels and beauty brands await shoppers and discounted items will also include cosmetics, jewellery, skincare and fragrances.

The deals can be availed of only at the venue and will not be available in stores or other locations.

In the previous edition of the Big Clearance Sale last March, thousands of bargain hunters crowded the halls of Dubai World Trade Centre, snapping up discounts from 100 top fashion, lifestyle and beauty brands.

Shoppers are also in for mega prizes, as there will be further competitions and raffles for two Renault Koleos cars and two cash prizes of Dh5,000.

Entrance to the venue, however, is not free, with the entry tickets costing Dh10 per person and valid only on the day of purchase.

Doors to the Za’abeel Halls 1, 2, 3 will open at 11am. The retail bonanza is a regular fixture in Dubai’s retail calendar and organised by the Dubai festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).

QATAR HAS A LOT TO ANSWER FOR THE ARAB SPRING

Qatar is bragging about its media, particularly Al Jazeera, and is always reiterating that it has upheld and supported the “Arab Spring” while accusing some GCC states, including the UAE, that they stood up against this. The so-called “Spring” was indeed the path to absolute destruction and created catastrophes that Arab countries had never experienced before.

To be more specific, there are some clear outcomes that resulted from the Arab Spring Doha is boasting about. These, which published by many international observers and media, include:

* Material losses that have amounted to more than $1 trillion (Dh3.67 trillion) and are expected to rise further in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. These cannot be easily compensated and will make up an economic and social disaster that could last decades.

* There are also 14 million refugees, 8 million of whom live outside their home countries and suffer tragic living conditions due to the lack of the most basic means to sustain a dignified life. This came about after they left their homes and stable social lives on losing income sources as well as the basic services they used to enjoy, such as education and medical services.

The Arab Spring has resulted in 1.5 million people being injured or killed, hundreds of thousands of whom were innocent children, women and the old. This is in fact because of foreign funding, which is being bragged about instead of feeling shame. It demands a heartfelt apology for the serious damages caused to millions in various Arab countries.

On the same patter, the “Qatari Spring” resulted in 3 million people losing jobs, most of whom had enjoyed stable businesses and reasonable income but now suffer the most in just surviving, not to mention their lack of basic life requirements that have become a dream. It is all thanks to this Spring, which was supported by revenues from gas sales.

To top it all, $700 billion of the gross domestic production have been lost in the Arab Spring-hit countries, a gargantuan loss considering the limited resources in countries that have experienced wanton destruction of factories, farms and productive institutions. They now require unprecedented efforts to be made fit for relaunch of operations.

More than 70 million have joined the ranks of those living below the poverty line in Arab countries on the heels of the destruction, placing a great burden on the resources of those countries that cannot be easily overcome such difficulties, especially in the aftermath of a crisis.

There are also 15 million out-of-school children, adding to the ranks of the uneducated and placing another burden on society as their ignorance might lure them to commit organised crimes and engage in drug abuse and smuggling.

These are just examples of the destruction and subversion that Qatar is proud to support, employing baseless pretexts to garner the sympathy of fools backed by Al Jazeera’s incitement, which plays with the emotions of the poor and underprivileged. However, the recurring image of the situation resulting from the alleged Spring is more catastrophic than anyone may think of.

Just look at the devastation in Aleppo, Mosul, Homs and Hama or war-torn cities like Damascus, Baghdad, Tripoli and Benghazi.

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MOHAMMAD BIN RASHID APPROVES NEW BUILDING PERMIT PROCEDURES DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY

Dubai: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has approved the new strategy for Building Permit Procedures Development in Dubai. The strategy will ensure speeding up the process of acquiring building permits from concerned government entities to assist investors in the real estate sector.

The new strategy, set-up by Dubai’s Committee for Building Permit Procedures Development, aims to enhance Dubai’s prominent positioning as a city where the active building and construction sector plays an important role as key component of the economic development.

The strategy is built upon three pillars, first developing and streamlining building permit procedures, then unifying systems and requirement, while the last one provides a ‘one stop shop’ where all the procedures and building permits processes in Dubai can be completed. The three pillars represent a comprehensive scheme that will ensure speeding up the process of acquiring permits in all its stages.

Daoud Abdul Rahman Al Hajri, Assistant Director General of Dubai Municipality of Engineering and Planning, and Head of the Committee, said that the new strategy reflects the vision of Shaikh Mohammad, aiming to enhance customers’ happiness and save them time and efforts to create a stimulating environment that promotes Dubai’s investment climate.

As for the strategy preparation process, Al Hajri noted that since its formation in February 2017, the Committee held several meetings and workshops with the concerned stakeholders to discuss the various details of acquiring building permits. The Committee also formed four teams to conduct detailed researches and studies, where the first team works on developing the new building regulations based on the feedback gathered from customers, contractors and consultancies.

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