Careers show highlights widening options

Updated 31 October 2013
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Careers show highlights widening options

NAJAH 2013, the UAE’s major education, training and careers exhibition, is under way in Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, minister of culture, youth, and community development, presided over the inauguration.
More than 160 international and local higher education institutions and employers looking to enroll thousands of UAE high school leavers and graduates are participating in the event at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center.
The exhibition ends Thursday.
The exhibition is being held at a time when reports say that private Western higher education institutes are growing in the UAE at a rate of 15 percent annually, and also that 24 percent of the UAE’s total government expenditure is earmarked for the education sector — more than twice that of what European governments set aside for education.
The focus on the UAE higher education is considered as timely and important as 49,000 high school students graduate every year according to the UAE National Bureau of Statistics.
More than 15,000 students are expected to visit the show during its three-day run.
Organized by Informa Exhibitions, the event is now in its seventh edition and has been steadily growing every year since its inaugural edition in 2007.
“Higher education is growing exponentially in the UAE, reflecting a rapidly increasing local and expatriate population coupled with ambitious government objectives to develop a stronger knowledge economy,” said Khurram Saeed, exhibition director of NAJAH.
“The sector has an estimated market size of $7.31 billion, and the demand for universities and training institutions will continue to grow as more and more high school graduates and parents seek quality higher education options. This year NAJAH has attracted the largest participation of universities yet, not only from the UAE but also internationally.”
The UAE currently hosts 37 international university branch campuses more than any country in the world, many of which are participating in NAJAH, including University of Wollongong, Dubai; Heriot Watt University, New York; Institute of Technology, Abu Dhabi; and Manipal University, India.


No need for more talks over draft budget: Lebanon finance minister

Updated 21 May 2019
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No need for more talks over draft budget: Lebanon finance minister

  • Lebanon’s proposed austerity budget may please international lenders but it could enrage sectors of society
  • Lebanon has one of the world’s heaviest public debt burdens at 150 percent of GDP

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s finance minister said on Tuesday there was no need for more talks over the 2019 draft budget, seen as a vital test of the government’s will to reform, although the foreign minister signalled the debate may go on.
The cabinet says the budget will reduce the deficit to 7.6% of gross domestic product (GDP) from last year’s 11.2%. Lebanon has one of the world’s heaviest public debt burdens at 150% of GDP.
“There is no longer need for too much talking or anything that calls for delay. I have presented all the numbers in their final form,” Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said.
But Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil suggested the debate may go on, telling reporters: “The budget is done when it’s done.”
While Lebanon has dragged its feet on reforms for years, its sectarian leaders appear more serious this time, warning of a catastrophe if there is no serious action. Their plans have triggered protests and strikes by state workers and army retirees worried about their pensions.
President Michel Aoun on Tuesday repeated his call for Lebanese to sacrifice “a little“: “(If) we want to hold onto all privileges without sacrifice, we will lose them all.”
“We import from abroad, we don’t produce anything ... So what we did was necessary and the citizens won’t realize its importance until after they feel its positive results soon,” Aoun said, noting Lebanon’s $80 billion debt mountain.
A draft of the budget seen by Reuters included a three-year freeze on all forms of hiring and a cap on bonus and overtime benefits.
It also includes a 2% levy on imports including refined oil products and excluding medicine and primary inputs for agriculture and industry, said Youssef Finianos, minister of public works and transport.
“DEVIL IN THE DETAIL“
Marwan Mikhael, head of research at Blominvest Bank, said investors would welcome the additional efforts in the latest draft to cut the deficit.
“There will be some who claim it is not good because they were hit by the decline in spending or increased taxes, but it should be well viewed by the international community,” he said.
Jason Tuvey, senior emerging markets economist at Capital Economics, said: “The numbers will be of some comfort to investors, but the devil will be in the detail.”
“Even if the authorities do manage to rein in the deficit, it probably won’t be enough to stabilize the debt ratio and some form of restructuring looks increasingly likely over the next couple of years,” Tuvey said.
The government said in January it was committed to paying all maturing debt and interest payments on the predetermined dates.
Lebanon’s main expenses are a bloated public sector, interest payments on public debt and transfers to the loss-making power generator, for which a reform plan was approved in April. The state is riddled with corruption and waste.
Serious reforms should help Lebanon tap into some $11 billion of project financing pledged at a Paris donors’ conference last year.
Once approved by cabinet, the draft budget must be debated and passed by parliament. While no specific timetable is in place for those steps, Aoun has previously said he wants the budget approved by parliament by the end of May.
On Monday, veterans fearing cuts to their pensions and benefits burned tires outside the parliament building where the cabinet met. Police used water cannon to drive them back.