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DH220 million aluminium plant opens at Kizad

Ducab Aluminium Company, the latest company to join the UAE’s fast growing aluminium sector, marked its official opening at Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) on Wednesday. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, inaugurated the Dh220 million joint venture between Ducab, the UAE-based leading manufacturer of high-quality cables and cabling products, and Senaat, one of the largest holding companies in the UAE’s industrial sector.

Sheikh Hamed stressed that industry has become a significant pillar of the UAE national economy. He said economic diversification is essential to maintain the pace of comprehensive development and ensure strong growth in the future.

Ministers and other senior leaders and executives as well as customers attended the opening ceremony.

In a statement, DAC said the joint venture embodied the efforts to expand the development of the industrial sector in the UAE by embracing the partnership model that combines national industrial sector organisations in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. “DAC cooperates with Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) to supply the new manufacturer with molten aluminium in a unique collaborative model to promote partnership strategies among national institutions.”

DAC said it would aim to strengthen the UAE’s industrial supply chain in line with the national strategy to enhance industrial investment opportunities across the country. The company will manufacture 50,000 metric tonnes of high quality electrical grade aluminium rod and overhead conductor per annum once it reaches its full capacity supplying to both local and international customers.

Eng. Jamal Salem Al Dhaheri, Chairman of Ducab and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Senaat, who has assumed the role of Chairman of DAC, said the launch of the plant extends the UAE’s industrial capabilities and addresses the growing aluminium market globally.

“DAC has signed a long-term partnership with its neighbour EGA for the supply of molten aluminium to the facility along Kizad’s ‘Hot Metal Road.’ With this special partnership with EGA, we are now positioned to offer tailored products for the electrical supply chain, optimizing local resources in line with the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. Moreover, the new company will substitute substantial imports of aluminium rods and overhead lines into the UAE, and help build a competitive edge for ‘Made-in-UAE’ industrial products,” said Al Dhaheri.

“Ducab Aluminium Company marks an important milestone in the UAE aluminium sector and adds to a growing number of downstream ventures in aluminium being developed in Kizad as part of the UAE’s ambitions to further diversify the national economy. Proximity to Port Khalifa is a real advantage for this export-orientated business. DAC has already signed rod supply contracts to service customers across the GCC, India, Lebanon, North America and select markets in Africa. Further expansions are also being planned for Latin America and Europe as DAC targets export sales of over Dh300 million in 2018,” said Dr. Ahmad bin Hassan Al Shaikh, Vice-Chairman of Ducab and DAC Board Member.

DAC manufactures Electrical Conductive (EC) grade aluminium and aluminium alloy rods, wires, and bare overhead conductors. The activities at DAC will complement Ducab’s existing portfolio, which has seen the 100 per cent UAE-owned company become a global leader in the development, design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of copper and aluminium wire and cable products.

With five manufacturing facilities in the UAE including DAC, Ducab’s products are currently used in the energy, general construction, oil & gas, industrial, defence, transport, marine, mining and other specialty industry verticals.

Exchange houses in UAE ready for cryptocurrency but…

Currency exchange houses in the UAE are willing to accept cryptocurrency that is regulated or introduced by the country’s central bank, a senior official of the Foreign Exchange & Remittance Group (Ferg) said in Dubai on Wednesday.

Osama Al Rahma, vice-chairman, Ferg, said that if a digital currency is regulated or initiated by UAE Central Bank – as there was an announcement that the UAE and Saudi Arabia may go for their own cryptocurrency – then this can be accepted by the currency exchange houses group.

“We have seen wild fluctuation happening in cryptocurrency tradings and they are not accepted by regulators too. But if a cryptocurrency is initiated by Central Bank, we will make use of it,” Al Rahma told on the sidelines of the launch of the New Anti-Money Laundering Standardisation Manual. Of late, digital currency Bitcoin has seen high volatility, rising to more than $19,000 before plunging it to nearly $11,200 on Wednesday evening as concerns have been consistently raised by some government and billionaires about prospects of the currencies.

“The existing ones which are labelled under different names are high risk issue which we don’t want to consider it now,” said Osama Al Rahma, who is also the CEO of Al Fardan Exchange, about the digital currencies.

VAT registration to increase substantially

The number of companies registering with the Federal Tax Authority for value-added tax (VAT) will increase substantially – especially from the retail and F&B sectors – over the coming months as some of the businesses are still preparing to register for new tax regime, tax analysts said on Wednesday.

“I believe there would be more companies coming up within the next few months. Businesses are still preparing for VAT registration, and getting their accounts in order. This may take time and companies are still adjusting,” said Sarra AlSamarrai, Associate at Dubai-based Fichte & Co.

Khalid Al Bustani, head of the Federal Tax Authority, said that 260,000 companies have so far registered while thousands more will register in coming months. Moreover, another 10,000 large groups have also registered with the FTA under VAT. He pointed out that around 50,000 companies applied for registration in one day in December 2017.

In 2017, Al Bustani had announced that 350,000 companies would register for VAT. Naveen Sharma, chairman, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (Dubai Chapter), believes that companies will register in big numbers in months to come. He expects that the companies registering for VAT could cross the 350,000 target.

“Many people who were thinking that VAT will not come, will come forward and this is happening now. Plus, people in free zones were thinking whether to register or not will also come in big numbers,” Sharma said. Most of the new companies will come mainly from the retail and F&B sectors, he said, adding that small repair shops, travel agencies and online firms will also join the FTA for VAT registration.

Highlighting challenges still being faced by companies for registration, AlSamarrai noted that one of the biggest challenges companies are facing is actually assessing their taxable supplies in order to see if they should register.

“A lot of companies – especially those providing services – cannot identify their services clearly as per the tax regulations; the hardest mechanisms would be identifying the taxable supplies (whether they would be exempt or zero rated), and where the place of supply would be considered according to the VAT regulations,” she added.

The FTA chief said that so far only two tax agents’ applications have been approved out of hundreds of applications submitted with the authority.

 

DH5.3b Sheikh Khalifa road enters Guinness world records

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region, on Wednesday inaugurated Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Road in the presence of Sheikh Dheyab Bin Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Department of Transport. The road was known before as the Mafraq-Ghuwaifat highway.

Sheikh Hamdan announced that the Dhs5.3 billion road, which had been built by Abu Dhabi General Services (Musanada) under the supervision of the Department of Transport, would be named after President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in recognition and appreciation of his role in leading the march of giving until the UAE became one of the pioneering countries worldwide.

The 327-km long road, which is one of the most important strategic transport projects in Abu Dhabi, would contribute to achieving the objectives of Abu Dhabi plan towards boosting the emirate’s infrastructure, supporting its economic development and making a quantum leap in the modern network of roads, he added.

ADNOC to enter Dubai, Saudi Arabia market for first time

Fuel retailer Adnoc Distribution on Wednesday said it will enter into Dubai and Saudi Arabia market for the first time this year, offering more choice to consumers for fuel retailing and convenience stores.

It will open at least 13 new stations in 2018, it said in a statement.

Three new service stations are planned in Dubai, nine in Abu Dhabi, Ajman and Fujairah and at least one site in Saudi Arabia, under a franchise agreement. However, it didn’t disclose the location of the Dubai sites.

In addition, major extensions will be completed at three existing stations in Abu Dhabi in 2018.

Motorists in Dubai using Adnoc distribution stations will have the advantage of filling their cars’ tanks with the lowest-priced 91 Unleaded Gasoline which has been priced at Dh2.05 per litre as against Dh2.12 for 95 Unleaded Gasoline and Dh2.24 for 98 Unleaded Gasoline.

“Improving service, choice and convenience for our customers is our top priority for 2018, as we transform Adnoc Distribution into a more commercially minded and performance-driven company. This year we will deliver new stations quicker and at a lower cost while maintaining our 100 per cent focus on health and safety,” said Saeed Mubarak Al Rashdi, Acting CEO, Adnoc Distribution.

Flydubai starts flights to Aqaba, Thessaloniki

Flydubai has announced the start of flights to Thessaloniki in Greece and Aqaba in Jordan from June 2018. The latest additions to the growing flydubai network give passengers from the UAE and the region the option to travel to more than 100 destinations through Dubai’s aviation hub.

Flydubai is the first UAE carrier to operate flights to Aqaba and Thessaloniki. Flights to Thessaloniki will operate three times a week starting from 15 June, while flights to Aqaba will operate four times a week from 16 June.

Ghaith Al Ghaith Chief Executive Officer of flydubai, said: “With the addition of Aqaba and Thessaloniki to our network, we increase the number of underserved markets served by flydubai with direct flights from the UAE to 71 destinations. The fact that around 70% of our network was previously underserved means that we remained committed to the vision set for us to create free flows of trade and tourism and the strengthen direct air links with the UAE.”

Flydubai earlier announced the launch of several new routes for 2018 including Tivat, Krakow, Dubrovnik, Catania, Kutaisi, Qabala and Batumi from March onwards. This brings the number of destinations served by the carrier in Eastern and Southern Europe to 27, Caucasus and Central Asia to 11 and GCC and Middle East to 30.

RAKTDA, Airbnb ink agreement

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) and Airbnb have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote responsible home sharing, boost tourism and diversify the tourism offer in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.

The announcement was made by Haitham Mattar, chief executive officer of RAKTDA and Hadi Moussa, Airbnb’s General Manager for the Middle East and Africa.

This agreement follows the recent adoption of a new Directive which makes clear that people in the Emirate are allowed to share their space as long as they respect basic safety rules and register via a simple online process.

As part of the MoU, Airbnb and Ras Al Khaimah will promote the new rules and responsible home sharing by creating a Responsible Hosting Page informing hosts of the rules and linking to official information and sending regular email reminders to hosts; Exchange insights and learnings about travel trends on Airbnb in order to raise awareness about the positive impacts of the Airbnb Community and boost tourism.

Haitham Mattar, chief executive officer of RAKTDA, said: “The MoU that we’ve signed with Airbnb marks a massive milestone towards diversifying the tourism scene in Ras Al Khaimah. We aim to welcome one million visitors by end of 2018 and 2.9 million by 2025, and therefore the demand for more rooms is essential to accommodate those visitors. We are confident that our partnership with a leading international hospitality pioneer such as Airbnb will help take Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism offering to the next level. In addition, this project will strengthen our ability to increase the choice of options for our guests and cater to a more diverse traveler portfolio, particularly in light of growing demand towards the sharing economy.”

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