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Businesses Can Settle Vat Payments At Uae Exchange

UAE Exchange has announced that it has started accepting Value Added Tax (VAT) payments on behalf of the Federal Tax Authority (FTA).

All entities registered with the FTA who have a valid Tax Registration Number (TRN) and a GIBAN account number can now make their VAT payments in any of the 150 UAE Exchange branches spread across the seven emirates.

Abdel Kareem Alkayed, country head for UAE Exchange – UAE, said: “We are pleased to partner with the Federal Tax Authority and offer businesses in the UAE a stress-free offline payment solution for their VAT obligations. Through our vast network of strategically-located branches, including 18 in Dubai metro stations, customers can settle their payments on any convenient day.”

Dubai Business Club Offers New Value-Added Service Package

The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai has unveiled a value-added service package for investors using the services of its Dubai Business Club.

The new package includes economic, administrative and legal consultancy, market research, administrative studies, feasibility studies, tax consultations, accounting services, intellectual property services provided by Talal Abu-Ghazaleh & Co. International. The move comes as part of DED’s ongoing efforts to enhance customer happiness through continuous innovations in service excellence and quality.

Omar Al Muhairi, director of Development & Follow-up at the Business Registration & Licensing (BRL) sector in DED explained that the club serves as a single point of service for VIP businessmen and investors to avail of the services of a number of entities including DED, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), Dubai Police General Command, Dubai Health Authority, Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and Commercial Bank of Dubai.

DED recently signed an agreement with Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization (TAG-Org) to provide value-added services to the business community as well as the Dubai Business Club. Through such partnerships DED aims to continuously elevate the services at the Dubai Business Club to the highest levels, improve the business environment in accordance with global best practices, and reach out to the largest possible number of businessmen and investors wishing to do business in Dubai. The service quality improvements targeted through the partnership will also contribute to the economic development and sustainable business growth in Dubai.

The services of the Dubai Business Club are divided into two categories – for members, and non-members. DED will continue to monitor the development and quality of the customer services provided at the Club, which is a first-of-its-kind premium facility in Dubai.

Dubai Hills Mall Construction On-Schedule

Dubai Hills Mall, the new retail and lifestyle destination in Dubai Hills Estate, is slowly coming to life, with about 60 per cent of the mall’s structure having been completed.

Emaar Development has also commenced the structural steel work of an 18-screen cineplex as well as the first glass skylight. Mockup work for facades, skylights, shopfronts, washrooms and the finishes has also commenced.

A unique attribute of the Dubai Hills Mall is its solar harvesting shading systems that are currently being put in place. Set to establish the mall as one of the most sustainable retail destinations, Emaar Development is fitting out car parking shades and the rooftop shades with a dual function – of assuring sun-cover as well as capturing solar energy through photovoltaic cells with the power generated to be linked to the grid of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. The solar shading feature is estimated to generate 6.5 MW annually.

Etihad Airways Launches New Service To Barcelona

Etihad Airways has announced the introduction of a new scheduled service linking Abu Dhabi and Barcelona, effective November 21, 2018.

The route will initially be operated five times a week by a two-class Airbus A330-200 before becoming a daily operation from March 31, 2019. Barcelona will become the second city in Spain served by Etihad Airways, complementing the airline’s existing daily service to the capital Madrid. The new link will provide business and leisure travellers with convenient timings to travel between Abu Dhabi and Barcelona, also providing seamless onward connections through Abu Dhabi to major cities in the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Korea, and Australia.

Peter Baumgartner, CEO of Etihad Airways, said: “As one of the largest unserved markets from our Abu Dhabi base, Barcelona – a hub of culture, commerce, tourism, education, fashion and science, has witnessed a significant increase in travel demand from the emirate, and from across our wider network.”

UAE Residents Hopeful On Greater Savings In 2018

Residents across the UAE have expressed their hopes of saving more in 2018, as compared to the previous year, new research by National Bonds Corporation has shown.

National Bonds Corporation’s 2017 Savings Index found that 57 percent of savers plan to increase their savings in this year, compared to 64 percent in 2017. In addition, 41 per cent of savers in the UAE are planning to start their savings journey in 2018. The data also showed that 85 per cent of respondents still feel that they are still not saving enough for their future.

Despite this, the UAE also saw an increase in the number of respondents who feel that they are saving enough, which is four per cent higher than in 2016.

“While it is not surprising to see that residents in the UAE are not saving as much as they believe they should, it is interesting to see the disconnect between the intent to save and the numbers of people saving year-on-year,” said Mohammed Qasim Al-Ali, CEO of National Bonds Corporation.

“The UAE has the largest portion of regular savers in the GCC and I am confident that we will continue to lead the way in this area if we keep striving to raise awareness of the importance of saving. If people realise the key role which savings plays in securing a happy future, everything else would fall in its place,” he added.

Interestingly, 68 percent of those surveyed in the UAE claimed their financial stability contributes their overall happiness. The report also found measurements for overall happiness included taking out health insurance, life insurance and saving enough to put their children through university. When pushed on why respondents felt it was a good time to save, 43 percent of UAE residents cited better investment opportunities, a 36 percent increase from 2016.

Soon, Apple Watch With Cellular To Launch In UAE

Apple was rumoured to be working on a couple of new Apple Watches in the lead-up to the Worldwide Developers Conference here, but that didn’t come to fruition.

However, there will indeed be a version of the wearable that will be new to the UAE coming very soon: the much-awaited cellular option.

While Cupertino-headquartered Apple did not announce this at WWDC18, the Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular will hit UAE stores on June 15. Pre-orders begin June 8.

Apple introduced the cellular-enabled device last September. It will allow users to make calls, send messages, stream music and other actions without the need for an iPhone.

At present, it is available in only 20 countries, including India, the availability of which started on May 11.

Users shell out an additional fee to use it. As at posting time, etisalat is already promoting the device on its website, but no pricing was provided. Du has yet to do so.

The Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular will be priced starting at Dh1,679 for the 38mm version and Dh1,784 for the 42mm option.

At WWDC18, Apple CEO Tim Cook touted the success of the Watch, saying that it had enjoyed 60 per cent growth in 2017.

Over 60% Smes In UAE Expect 20% Growth This Year: Survey

Dubai – Small business owners are confident the remainder of 2018 will be a period of strong growth, revealed a new survey.

More than 60 per cent are confident of achieving as much as 20 per cent growth compared to their performance last year, according to a new conducted by Meed.

For 13 per cent of the respondents, an even more robust growth of over 50 per cent is expected by the end of the year. The remaining survey participants indicated business prospects are likely to increase anywhere from 20-40 per cent.

“The results of the survey show a promising outlook not just for the SME sector but for the entire UAE economy. Small businesses comprise a majority of registered business in the Emirates and contribute a substantial 40 per cent to the country’s GDP. The strong growth prospects of SMEs over the coming year and their increasing confidence and optimism should augur well for the business community in general and for aspiring entrepreneurs in particular,” said Dr Karim El Solh, co-founder and CEO of Gulf Capital, an alternative asset management firms.

When asked how they hope to achieve their growth targets, 28 per cent said they will be increasing their investments on sales and marketing initiatives, while 21 per cent will focus their efforts on product development and innovation. Around 11 per cent of the respondents, meanwhile, will be looking at enhancing strategic partnerships to help them grow their business.

Close to half of the respondents, at 47 per cent, also found the business environment in the UAE to be nurturing of SMEs. However, 37 per cent of the polled business owners mentioned that securing bank financing for small businesses is still a big challenge and proving to be a burden for their operations.

Why UAE Expats Are Going For Second Passport

More than 40 per cent of expats in the UAE have sold their properties in their home countries in order to obtain a second citizenship, latest data shows.

According to Savory & Partners, about 23.7 per cent of applicants sold some of their own properties to apply for a second citizenship while 16.9 per cent sold their only house last year to secure another passport or nationality.

“The UAE has turned into an important hub for securing the Caribbean or the European second citizenship. Over the past 6 months or so, there has been a remarkable increase of 67.6 per cent comparing to the same period of last year of clients coming to the country just for securing a second passport. These clients are either expats living in the GCC countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan,” said Jeremy Savory, CEO of Savory & Partners.

The data showed that 17.4 per cent of applicants are parents who apply on behalf of their sons, daughters or brothers, it said.

Imran Farooq, CEO of AAA Associates, a Dubai-based immigration advisory, says that even if few investors and businessmen have to disburse assets to afford higher and better benefits, these are wise decisions in their best interests, hence it suits them well.

Veronica Cotdemiey, CEO of Citizenship Invest, said it is correct to say that some people make a big financial effort to obtain a second nationality, while others don’t have to.

“The security the citizenship applicants have when applying for the programmes we promote is that they don’t have to pay the largest lump sum of investment until their citizenship is approved. Therefore, they don’t have to make any financial commitments until they are certain that their citizenship has been approved,” she said. She noted that the need for obtaining a second citizenship or passport has increased tremendously over the past 4 years because expats in the region are recognising the importance of this and are investing part of their finances to obtain a second nationality. This trend has been pushed even further with the recent addition of value-added tax, she added.

“Every expat whether they were from Arab or Asian origins is looking for the best way to grow their businesses, secure their family’s future, protect their finances and move freely around the world and a second nationality allows them to achieve all this,” she added.

Cotdemiey pointed out that stringent immigration policies applied by European nations and the US on several Arab countries is also creating an urgency for applicants to obtain a second nationality.

Among the expat communities seeking a second passport in the UAE, Pakistanis are No.1 followed by Syrians, Indians, Lebanese, Egyptians, Palestinians, Jordanians, Iranians, Iraqis and UAE nationals, according to the Savory & Partners report.

The top destinations for second passports are Commonwealth of Dominicia, St Kitts and Nevis, Spain, Portugal and St Lucia.

Savory noted that the Commonwealth of Dominica is the easiest option in terms of costs and document requirements for obtaining second passport for single applicants while Antigua and Barbuda and St Kitts and Nevis are the best bet for a family of four.

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