Dubai launches fifth stimulus economic package to support businesses under pandemic

The Emirate of Dubai has announced a new stimulus package worth 315 million dirhams ($86 million) to help the economy. (File/AFP)
The Emirate of Dubai has announced a new stimulus package worth 315 million dirhams ($86 million) to help the economy. (File/AFP)
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Updated 06 January 2021

Dubai launches fifth stimulus economic package to support businesses under pandemic

Dubai launches fifth stimulus economic package to support businesses under pandemic

DUBAI: The emirate of Dubai announced Wednesday its fifth economic stimulus package in a bid to support economic and business sectors affected by the coronavirus pandemic.  
The latest package, which is worth 315 million dirhams, was announced in a tweet by Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed. 
The package extends the validity of some of the initiatives announced in the previous stimulus packages for another six months, starting from January 2021 until June 2021.
The new package raises the value of business incentives introduced by the emirate’s government to 7.1 billion dirhams.
Sheikh Hamdan said the step comes as part of Dubai’s government strategies to meet global economic challenges posed the COVID-19 pandemic. 
“The Dubai Government continues to assess the current global economic situation and the various developments amid these exceptional circumstances to develop practical strategies that will enable us to efficiently mitigate the repercussions of the global pandemic on the economy,” he said.
“Despite the challenges imposed by the pandemic worldwide, our economy is steadily recovering. We have the capabilities and resources that enable us to achieve economic excellence and accelerate the recovery of our various business sectors. 
“We are confident the next phase will bring new opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors.”
During the period between March and October of 2020, Dubai launched four stimulus packages to reduce the impact of confinement measures in the emirate. 
On Wednesday, the UAE announced 2,067 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of recorded cases to 218,766. The country’s ministry of health also recorded four deaths due to virus complications, bringing the total death toll in the country to 689. 
The ministry conducted 156,520 additional COVID-19 tests over the past 24 hours.


NEOM-like BP hydrogen project to fuel UK transport

NEOM-like BP hydrogen project to fuel UK transport
Updated 14 sec ago

NEOM-like BP hydrogen project to fuel UK transport

NEOM-like BP hydrogen project to fuel UK transport

CAIRO: BP is planning a new large-scale green hydrogen production facility in the North East of England to deliver up to 500 megawatts of power ‎by 2030.

The British energy giant will build an initial 60 MW green hydrogen plant as the first step in its HyGreen Teesside project, with production set to begin by 2025, according to Recharge News.

The project is expected to fuel the development of Teesside into the UK’s first major hydrogen ‎transport hub, leading the way for large-scale decarbonization of heavy transport, airports, ports, and ‎rail in the UK, BP said.

The company said that it will rely on renewable energy power purchase agreements at first, but eventually aims to plug in the clean power it is developing in and around the UK, including offshore wind farms. 

BP's proposals echo Saudi Arabia utilities developer ACWA Power and NEOM's plan for a hydrogen-based ammonia production facility powered by renewable energy.

ACWA Power expects construction work on its green hydrogen plant in NEOM to start in the first half of 2022, according to the company’s CEO.

The Saudi project aims to produce 650 tonnes a day of hydrogen, the production of nitrogen by air separation using Air Products technology, and the production of 1.2 million tonnes annually of green ammonia using Haldor Topsoe technology.


UAE retailers ‘cautiously optimistic’ as sales rise above pre-COVID-19 levels for first time

UAE retailers ‘cautiously optimistic’ as sales rise above pre-COVID-19 levels for first time
Updated 16 min 1 sec ago

UAE retailers ‘cautiously optimistic’ as sales rise above pre-COVID-19 levels for first time

UAE retailers ‘cautiously optimistic’ as sales rise above pre-COVID-19 levels for first time

DUBAI: The UAE’s retail sector showed signs of recovery in the third quarter of 2021 as shoppers returned to malls or embraced e-commerce to send sales above pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels for the first time.

Point-of-sale transactions rose by 7 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to a recent report by retail giant Majid Al Futtaim.

The company, which runs major shopping malls in the region, such as Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, said the change was significant because it was the first time “consumer spending exceeded levels last seen in 2019.”

MAF group chief executive officer Alain Bejjani, said: “Our research shows a continuation of the buoyancy in consumer sentiment, with further positive indicators pointing to solid growth and momentum in the non-oil sector.”

Despite the COVID-19 health crisis having crippled consumer spending amid salary cuts and job losses, Dubai Economy, a government body set up to diversify the emirate’s economy, recorded the highest level of consumer confidence in a decade over the third quarter, the MAF report said.

However, the survey results were compiled before the emergence of the omicron COVID-19 variant, which may set back progress in the final quarter of this year.

According to MAF, footfall in its outlets in the third quarter jumped 18 percent compared to the same period a year ago, while online shopping was up by 34 percent over the same quarter.

“The adoption and acceleration of e-commerce and food delivery services are a great example of how changes to consumer behavior have become a ubiquitous part of post-pandemic day-to-day life for us all,” Bejjani added.

He pointed out that the recovery of retailers would depend heavily on innovation “in order to effectively cater to both new preferences and old habits.”

Dubai’s hosting of Expo 2020 has helped with the economic recovery (Shutterstock)

Bejjani noted that many factors had led to this “cautious optimism,” including an aggressive COVID-19 vaccination drive that allowed the UAE to lift restrictions relatively faster than other countries.

The revival of trade and tourism had also helped retailers, MAF added, and the positive economic outlook may be applied to the UAE’s Gulf neighbors, citing data organization Oxford Economics’ projection of up to 5.1 percent regional gross domestic product growth in 2022.

Other factors behind the retail recovery include Dubai’s hosting of Expo 2020, as well as the emirate’s growing real estate transactions, which official figures claim to be the “highest since 2015.”

Bejjani said: “While there are undoubtedly risks ahead, overall, we see much from which to draw strength, as the economic recovery continues to accelerate, and our communities adapt to living in a new post-pandemic world.”


KSA takes steps to boost private investments in heritage sector

KSA takes steps to boost private investments in heritage sector
Updated 54 min ago

KSA takes steps to boost private investments in heritage sector

KSA takes steps to boost private investments in heritage sector

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Heritage Commission has launched 100 projects and 34 initiatives to create investment opportunities for the private sector in the Kingdom’s heritage sector, said Jassir Al-Herbish.

The CEO of the commission told CNBC Arabia on Monday that the commission was working on 100 projects in the education sector, exploration companies, exploration missions, and on the activation of nonprofit organizations and the local community.

Al-Herbish said the commission will launch local and international exploration missions and the target is to reach 95 missions by 2030.

He said the commission has so far discovered around 10 percent of the Kingdom’s ancient archeological sites. Its goal is to discover 90 percent of the hidden treasures. Fifty initiatives will be launched by 2030 to achieve that goal, Al-Herbish added.

The commission unveiled its strategy for the development of the Saudi heritage sector on Sept. 29, which relies on eight main pillars to develop the nation’s culture as a lifestyle, for economic growth, and to enhance the nation’s international standing.

In 2021, it established the National Antiquities Register to record, manage and preserve archeological and historic sites in the Kingdom. There were 624 new archeological and historic sites recorded this year, with more than 8,000 locations registered so far.

Al-Herbish said the Saudi heritage is considered as an economic resource and the commission aims to transform the cultural heritage into a sustainable product by facilitating its management and financing.


Saudi Arabia takes more steps to develop and protect the Red Sea

Saudi Arabia takes more steps to develop and protect the Red Sea
Updated 30 November 2021

Saudi Arabia takes more steps to develop and protect the Red Sea

Saudi Arabia takes more steps to develop and protect the Red Sea
  • The Saudi cabinet approved on Tuesday the establishment of a new body to protect the coral reefs and sea turtles in the Red Sea

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is taking more steps to develop and protect the Red Sea, which the Kingdom deems to be a big contributor to the growth of its tourism industry. 

The Saudi cabinet approved on Tuesday the establishment of a new body to protect the coral reefs and sea turtles in the Red Sea, as well as organizational preparation work for a new authority in the area, according to the cabinet's weekly statement carried by Saudi Press Agency.


Egypt imposes a 10% customs tax on mobile phones 

Egypt imposes a 10% customs tax on mobile phones 
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 30 November 2021

Egypt imposes a 10% customs tax on mobile phones 

Egypt imposes a 10% customs tax on mobile phones 

RIYADH: Egypt’s house of representatives approved a presidential decree that includes imposing a 10 percent customs tax on imported mobile phones, to promote local industry.

Egypt’s Minister of Finance explained that the amendments aim to encourage investment, maximize production facilities and strengthen competitiveness of goods manufactured there in international markets.

Mohamed Maait added that computers and tablets are excluded from the tax, because they constitute a tool for digital transformation and the development of the education system. 

The amendment of some categories of customer tariffs comes in light of the conclusions reached by the Higher Council of Customs Tariffs in Egypt, head of the Egyptian customs authority, El-Shahat Ghaturi said.