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Bahrain to start vat implementation by end-2018

Bahrain will go ahead with imposing a value-added tax to strengthen state finances, Minister of Finance Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa said on Wednesday.

“We’ll be working with parliament on VAT and aim to have everything set up by the end of 2018,” Sheikh Ahmed told an investment conference in Manama, without giving a firm date for when the tax would be launched.

Bahrain, its sovereign debt rated “junk” by major credit rating agencies because of low oil prices, needs to diversify state revenues beyond oil. It originally planned to introduce VAT at a 5 per cent rate last month, at the same time as Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

What will drive UAE fashion and retail?

A direct correlation exists between the gross domestic product of a country and the relationship to the success of business in general in that country. When the GDP of a country improves, the welfare of the country improves. GDP is one of the most important indicators used to analyse the health of an economy.

The International Monetary Fund projected UAE GDP growth in 2017 to be 1.3 per cent, which is modest; the last year of such modest growth was in 2010. In 2018, however, the IMF has forecasted a growth of 3.4 per cent.

A doubling in the UAE’s economic activity in 2018 is forecasted by the IMF. This increase is attributed to a more stable pricing of West Texas Intermediate oil oil in the range of $60 per barrel. Additionally, growth of the UAE’s non-oil sectors and the region will contribute to the acceleration of investment for projects such as Expo 2020 Dubai, infrastructure projects, increased global trade, increased tourism and peace in the region.

The retail industry in the UAE will be one of the leading industries to benefit from the increase in GDP forecasted by the IMF. The retail infrastructure in the UAE includes some of the most sophisticated shopping environments in the world. The local population in the UAE and tourists visiting here have the best choices available globally for selection, quality of offering and highest level of execution for many of the retail environments. When the population in the UAE believes that their financial future will be brighter and more secure today and tomorrow, then these shoppers will feel inclined to purchase more retail goods. Given the IMF’s forecasted growth, the retail industry is set to flourish again in 2018.

Other factors aside from the anticipated growth in GDP are also at play, giving rise to greater optimism for retail sales in 2018, says McKinsey & Company in their latest report on the global fashion industry released at the end of November 2017 delivered in conjunction with the Business of Fashion.

UAE utility enforces installation of power factor correction systems

The Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) and Dorman Smith Academy briefed contracting and consultancy companies about importance of using conservation devices.

The academy conducted a technical seminar in Sharjah on reactive power compensation, which dealt with the basics of the electrical power factor, methods to improve it and suitable products and solutions for it.

With massive residential, commercial and industrial development witnessed in the UAE, the demand for electrical energy is also growing continuously. Efficient ways of generating, transmitting and distributing energy are being continuously explored.

Roohafza is coming to the UAE

Hamdard Laboratories has announced that it is officially bringing one of India’s most popular drinks to the UAE.

RoohAfza, Hamdard’s concentrated syrup drink, was officially showcased at the Gulfood 2018 exhibition. The sweet drink has been growing 20 per cent year on year and controls nearly half of India’s Dh600 million concentrated syrup market. Executives said they plan to introduce the drink to the UAE market, in addition to a few other products.

Speaking to source, Mansoor Ali, chief sales and marketing officer at Hamdard India, said RoohAfza is a popular drink which will be instantly recognisable among the Indian diaspora in the UAE.

“RoohAfza enjoys a 45 per cent market share in India within its category. With Multiplex International as strategic partners for the UAE, we have already made inroads into the market by forging critical relationships with the modern and general trade.”

Nasdaq Dubai launches Abu Dhabi, Dubai equity index futures

The Nasdaq Dubai exchange launched the equity index futures on Sunday for the main indexes of Dubai Financial Market and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, a top official said.

The new instruments could help to attract fresh money to the exchanges by giving investors more opportunity to hedge. Nasdaq Dubai began trading single-stock futures for shares in some of the UAE’s biggest companies in late 2016.

“This is one of the templates for stock markets in the UAE and how they can complement each other,” Hamed Ahmed Ali, chief executive of Nasdaq Dubai, said.

First look: Sharjah’s dh25 billion waterfront city on track for 2019 completion

Phase 1 of the Dh25 billion Sharjah Waterfront City project is on track for completion, with the handover of 321 villa units scheduled for 2019.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday morning, officials from Sharjah Oasis Real Estate, the developer of the project, say that construction work is progressing steadily on ‘Sun Island’ – one of the eight natural islands that make up the 60 million square feet development. Phase 1 involves the completion and handover of 321 residential units ranging between three, four, five, and six-bedroom villas on Sun Island.

“More than 50 per cent of the units in Phase 1 have been sold, which is a reflection of the confidence that people have, not just in the development, but in the property sector in Sharjah,” said Sultan Al Shakrah, chief executive officer of Sharjah Oasis Real Estate Co.

“After the launch of the first phase, we have quickly received some very good feedback from the market. Prices for the villas in Phase 1 of the project start from Dh2.5 million and go up to Dh8 million. Much of the investor demand right now comes from Emiratis, as well as from investors in KSA and the rest of the GCC, and Indians and Pakistanis.”

Al Shakrah also said that the construction on the whole development will be completed in six phases, and that construction on the second phase will begin by the end of this year. Sharjah Waterfront City consists of eight natural islands connected to each other, and is a mixed-use development that includes villas, commercial units, shopping malls, a water park, hotels, and a marina. Phase 2 of the project will include the construction of several commercial units, as well as two hotels.

Completion of the whole project is currently estimated between 8-10 years, but the CEO clarified that market conditions were going to be a key factor. “However, we have a target of completing all the vital project infrastructure by 2021, because without the proper infrastructure in place there is no project.”

Al Shakrah also highlighted how the property sector in Sharjah has been developing over the past 20 years.

“The good thing about the property market in Sharjah is that it is stable and we are fully supported by the government of the emirate as well as the private sector,” he said. “We believe in having the right product at the right location. What is unique about this project is that it offers direct sea views; there are a limited number of projects in the UAE that offer such stunning beachside views.”

He also noted how the project will ultimately help the emirate of Sharjah in achieving its tourism visitor target in the coming years.


Dubai to soon unveil first 3d-printed villa

Dubai will see its first 3D-printed villa in two months, Engineer Hussain Nasser Lootah, director-general of the Dubai Municipality, told the Emarat Al Youm daily.

The technology would be used to build villas in a government housing programme.

3D printing will reduce construction costs and shorten delivery timeframes. The technology is expected to disrupt the construction industry.

According to Dubai’s 3D Printing Strategy, 25 per cent of all buildings in Dubai will be 3D printed by 2030.

The Dubai Municipality has brought all the necessary tools and equipment to build the villa, said Lootah.

“3D printing is a disruptive technology, one that promises to upend the entire real estate industry. Currently, the process is still more expensive than conventional building methods; moreover it is in its embryonic stages, being able to accommodate only rudimentary designs. However, within a 10 to 15-year time frame, it appears likely that this form of ‘printing’ will start to replace existing methods of construction,” said Sameer Lakhani, managing director of Global Capital Partners.

Expo 2020 to drive construction boom in UAE

Preparations in the run-up to Expo 2020 are proving to be a catalyst for the UAE construction industry. The rise in oil prices is also beneficial for contractors since regional governments are beginning to restart old projects or invest in new infrastructure development.

However, contractors are not insulated from challenges – they face smaller margins, more competition in project bids, delayed payments and rise in the cost of doing business. There is also concern about the extent of project awards after all the Expo contracts have been let.

“There is a large amount of current activity but concerns remain about the volume of works after 2020. Meed Projects estimate that around 30 per cent of the $3.8 billion in construction contracts for the Expo have already been let, with another 60 per cent in the final procurement stage and expected to be let during 2018. The volume of new projects awarded across the UAE is expected to decline in 2019 and 2020,” says Alan Baker, JLL national director, project and development services – Mena.

Coming up: new retail project in Sharjah

The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) has unveiled a new partnership with Kuwaiti developer Mabanee to develop a real estate project in Sharjah.

The new partnership was formed during an agreement signing which took place on Sunday between Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, chairperson of the Authority, and Mohammed Abdulaziz Alshaya, board chairman of Mabanee.

Covering 65,000 square metres, the new development in the Mughaider area aims to transform the area into a premium tourist and leisure destination for Sharjah’s residents and visitors.

The development will house stores, restaurants and cafes and high-end recreational facilities. The new project will be developed and managed by Mabanee.

The project aims to provide investment opportunities in commercial, residential and tourist sectors.

Sheikha Bodour said: “Sharjah maintains its status as a prime investment destination within the region and in keeping with its strategic plan, Shurooq constantly looks to explore ways to forge new partnerships with top investors.”

Alshaya said: “As the largest real estate company in Kuwait, Mabanee sees investment opportunities in the UAE, especially Sharjah, as a new horizon for its business growth. This approach draws on the immense success of our flagship project ‘The Avenues Kuwait’ and extends our business operations even further beyond Kuwait to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain where ‘The Avenues Bahrain’ was inaugurated in October 2017. Work is currently underway on ‘The Avenues Riyadh’ and ‘The Avenues Al Khobar’ with total investments of $5.67 billion.

Nakheel awards dh4.2 billion contract for Deira Mall

Nakheel signed a contract for the construction of Deira Mall for Dh4.2 billion.

United Engineering Construction will build the mall, the UAE’s largest in terms of leasable space. Construction will begin in Q1 this year and be complete in 2021.

Deira Mall, part of Nakheel Malls’ Dh16 billion expansion that will take its total retail space to over 17 million sqft, will have more than 1,000 shops, cafes, restaurants and entertainment outlets across 4.5 million square feet of leasable space, and a 3.8 million sqft multi-storey car park with 8,400 parking bays.

Deira Mall will be the centrepiece of Deira Central, Nakheel’s nine million square feet mixed-use community at the heart of Deira Islands, containing 50 residential and hotel towers, retail, mosques and fitness facilities, all set in extensive parkland.

It is one of two large-scale retail destinations by Nakheel Malls at Deira Islands. The other, Deira Islands Night Souk, will be the world’s largest night market, with 5,300 shops and almost 100 quayside cafes and restaurants. Construction is in full swing, with the project due for completion later this year.

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