Oman exempts key sectors from 5pc vat
Gulf: Oman has exempted some key sectors such as healthcare, education and finance from the value-added tax which will be levied over the next six months.
State-run Oman TV last week said that five percent VAT will be imposed on goods and services, but with some exceptions.
In addition to financial services, provisions of healthcare and education and their related goods and services, other exemptions are undeveloped lands (bare lands); resale of residential properties; local passenger transport; and renting real estate for residential purposes, said Thomas Vanhee, Partner at Aurifer Middle East Tax Consultancy.
He said import of investment gold, silver and platinum, supplies of international goods and passenger transport and related services; supply of rescue aircrafts, boats and auxiliary ships; supply of crude oil and its oil derivatives and natural gas; import of maritime, air and land transport vehicles for transport of goods for commercial purposes as well as import of related services; and supplies for the disabled and charity organisation have been designated as zero rated.
Supply of foodstuffs, medicines and medical equipment to be determined by the decision of the President, after coordination with the competent authorities. Some of the basic foodstuff will also be exempted from five percent VAT.
Oman will be fourth Gulf nation to levy VAT after the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The Gulf countries have levied VAT in order to expand their revenue base amidst lower oil prices. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that Oman’s economy will shrink 10.0 percent in 2020 and 0.5 percent in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The Gulf economy will contract for third consecutive year as it shrank 0.8 percent last year.
Muscat has set voluntary registration threshold of 19,250 Omani riyals and mandatory registration for businesses and individuals with turnover of 38,500 riyals.
GCC agri-nutrients sector feeding 350m worldwide
The GCC agri-nutrients industry supports the food supply of 5.0 percent of the world’s population, or 350 million people across the globe, according to a new report published by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA).
This figure marks the rising importance of agri-nutrients in enhancing global food security in a rapidly changing world, where we will need to produce 70 percent to 100 percent more food by 2050 to feed our growing population, GPCA said.
The findings were highlighted in a new report entitled ‘Role of Agri-Nutrients in Food Security’ released on the occasion of World Food Day organised by the UN. The report further reveals that over the last five decades, a portion of the global population supported by agri-nutrients manufactured by GCC producers has increased 33 times, from about nine million in 1970 to 350 million currently.
Dr Abdulwahab Al Sadoun, secretary general, GPCA, said the GCC region is an important, global center for the production and export of agri-nutrients, which have proven to be essential for enhancing global food security, particularly during the current crisis. “The global community must work together to ensure open and free international trade and protect food supply chains by providing essential agri-nutrient inputs.”
Al Sadoun said the GCC agri-nutrient industry supports about 12,100 direct jobs in the region, and almost three times as many indirect and induced jobs, which means that every person working in the sector supports enough food production to feed about 30,000 people worldwide, including people in the GCC. Additionally, every person employed by the regional industry supports 17.7 tonnes of three main crops production per year (rice, wheat and maize), underlying the significance of the Arabian Gulf region in supporting global food security.
UAE eyes zero oil in gdp in next 50 years
The UAE is aiming to become the first country in the world to achieve zero contribution of oil in its GDP over the next 50 years, Minister of State for Foreign Trade Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi said.
“The UAE’s trade and investment strategy is centered on economic diversification and focuses on enhancing investment in industries such as communication, blockchain, artificial intelligence, robotics and genetics. We are also initiating measures to strengthen our position as a regional leader in supplying financial and logistical services and infrastructure for energy supply and other services,” Dr Al Zeyoudi said during his opening remarks on the second day of the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM).
He said increased partnership and cooperation within the government and with the private sector will be key to achieve the objectives.
Dubai in top 3 FDI cities
Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of Dubai FDI, said Dubai’s policies and initiatives have primed the city to attract investments into new and emerging sectors, among which one of the most important is the digital economy that includes secure communication networks, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, machine-to-machine communication and other technologies of Industry 4.0.
“This is the reason Dubai was among the top 10 cities globally in attracting FDI capital during the first half of 2020, and third in attracting greenfield FDI,” he said.
Gil Amelio, chairman of Safe Dynamics and former CEO of Apple Computer, said Dubai is known as a city of the future and an innovation hub in the Mena region and around the globe.
“Dubai and the UAE have implemented an innovative and forward-thinking approach. That’s why we are also planning to launch other products that improve safety for both workers and the public in the UAE in the near future,” he added.
Dubai economy and Zoho to assist Dubai businesses
Dubai Economy and Zoho, a global technology company with a wide portfolio of products, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to make enterprise-level technology available and affordable for all businesses in Dubai and help them in their digital transformation journey.
The MoU, signed by Omar Bushahab, CEO, the Business Registration and Licensing sector (BRL) of Dubai Economy, and Ali Shabdar, Regional Director of MEA, Zoho Corp, is a step towards making Dubai a trailblazer in digitalisation and global role model in driving a competitive knowledge economy, as targeted by the National Agenda 2021.
Through this agreement, local businesses registered with Dubai Economy can gain access to Zoho One, a unified cloud-based suite of over 45 applications.
“We are delighted to sign the agreement with Zoho, which would provide solutions that facilitate easy procedures, saves time, effort and cost, and promote the happiness and satisfaction of the business community in Dubai and enhance their competitiveness. These solutions are value-added services, within an innovative environment that seeks to invest future technologies in driving the well-being and prosperity of societies through digital smart,” added Bushahab.
Tabreed raises $500m in bond sale
District cooling firm Tabreed on Wednesday said it raised $500 million (Dh1.8 billion) with a seven-year, 2.5 percent coupon bond issuance.
The issuance was oversubscribed almost five times at its initial size of $400 million. This significant demand allowed Tabreed to tighten pricing significantly to achieve a final coupon of 2.5 percent and to increase the size of the final bond to $500 million. The bond is rated Baa3 by Moody’s and BBB by Fitch, in line with Tabreed’s corporate ratings.
The 7-year bond was particularly well received by international investors, who accounted for 90 percent of the final geographical allocation, with 49 percent from Europe, 21 percent from Asia and 20 percent from offshore US funds. The bond will be listed on the London Stock Exchange, alongside Tabreed’s existing 2025 Sukuk.
Khaled Abdulla Al Qubaisi, chairman of Tabreed, said: “The success of the issuance is proof of the continued confidence in Tabreed and its ability to generate sustainable cash flows and returns. Our solid fundamentals and strong credit ratings have translated into unprecedented market appetite, and I am proud to say that this has enabled us to attract significantly oversubscribed demand from a diverse pool of investors. This is also a vote of confidence from investors in Tabreed’s future and the growth potential of the organisation.”
JP Morgan and HSBC acted as joint global coordinators and bookrunners for the issuance, with Commercial Bank of Dubai acting as a joint lead manager.
DLD fines 10 realty firms, warns 30
The Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) at the Dubai Land Department (DLD) has implemented inspection campaigns aimed at auditing advertising permits and ensuring that various parties adhere to the circulars and laws enforced in the emirate. During the aforementioned campaigns, Rera fined 10 real estate companies and warned 30 others for not adhering to the advertising requirements.
The DLD clarified that each fine is valued at a progressive Dh50,000, stressing that it may reach the stage of cancelling the licence of the violating real estate company. The violations committed comprised three types: violations by companies that did not obtain advertising permits, manipulation of the use of advertising permit numbers, and the use of expired permits.
The DLD’s efforts are within the framework of its constant and continuous endeavour to maintain a safe and legal investment environment for practising real estate activities in the emirate, in line with the directives of the wise leadership to enhance performance efficiency and advance this sector to expanded levels.
Rera regularly launches circulars and campaigns that provide cautionary counsel and guidance for when dealing with various forms of advertisements, especially fake and unlicenced ads that are posted on electronic platforms and social media channels.
Investors find UAE more attractive than US, Europe
A large majority of UAE investors surveyed by a leading global wealth manager are considering adjusting their portfolios in anticipation of the US election.
According to a new Investor Sentiment study by UBS, while 87 percent of investors in the UAE consider adjustments to their portfolios prior to the US election, globally only 72 percent of investors are pondering such a shift.
Among those surveyed, 83 percent consider the UAE as an attractive region for investment opportunities followed by the US (68 percent) and Europe (68 percent).
Most respondents based in the UAE would consider investing in 5G networks, hedge funds and a green recovery over the next six months
While 78 of UAE investors plan to make further changes based on the result, 68 percent are optimistic about their region’s stocks on a short-term basis over the next six months, the survey results suggest.
The survey has polled more than 4,000 investors and business owners across 14 markets globally.
Investors prioritise yield in their portfolios with 61 percent aiming to get more yield in the next six months and 30 percent looking to reduce the level of risk in their portfolio.
Tom Naratil, president of UBS Americas and co-president of UBS Global Wealth Management, said in the pandemic that clients needed advice more than ever, and the ongoing market volatility and political uncertainty reinforced that need. This survey reiterates that investors are looking for advice, and the US election is a unique opportunity for wealth managers to reach out to their clients and provide them with guidance during an uncertain time.”
Maktoum appoints DIFC authority’s bod
Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of the Dubai International Financial Centre, has issued directive No. (5) of 2020, appointing DIFC Authority’s board of directors for a two-year term.
DIFC Authority’s board of directors are mandated to ensure that all of the centre’s activities, ranging from infrastructure development, financial management and client relations are structured and implemented to serve the vision of Dubai’s leadership.
The board members will play an instrumental role in directing DIFC’s strategic objective of driving the future of finance and consolidating its position as the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region’s leading global financial centre.
In addition to his role as Governor of DIFC, Essa Kazim continues to be the chairman of DIFC Authority’s board of directors. He is joined on the board by Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, Abdulla Jasim bin Kalban, Abdullah Salim Al Turifi, Khalfan Juma Belhoul, Ahmad Hassan bin Al Shaikh and Salem Ali Al Sharhan.
The chairman of DIFC Authority’s Board of Directors expressed his appreciation to outgoing board members for their contribution. Hussain Al Qemzi, Hamad Buamim and Rashid Saif Al Jarwan will be stepping down from the board following the successful completion of their tenures.