Weekly News Update March 01 to March 07, 2019

Sheikh Mohammed allocates $1.6bn for Northern Emirates power projects


Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, on Wednesday announced the allocation of AED5.8 billion ($1.58 billion) for water and electricity projects in the northern emirates. Sheikh Mohammed also approved an AED2.4 billion project to build dams and a federal water network that connects the water resources of the northern emirates with that of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, state news agency WAM reported. He also approved projects to build an AED1.2billion solar power station in Umm Al Quwain, and a water desalination station with a capacity of 150 million gallons per day, which are set to be completed in the next two years.




Sheikh Mohammed announces $272m Fujairah infrastructure projects


Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday announced the allocation of AED1 billion ($272 million) for infrastructure projects in Fujairah. The announcement - made during his visit to Fujairah and Khor Fakkan - is part of the 2017-2021 five-year plan being implemented by the Ministry of Infrastructure Development on the eastern coast. Sheikh Mohammed also approved the allocation of AED400 million to build a residential complex in Khor Fakkan as part of the same plan. This will be executed by the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme.




Dubai ruler unveils a $410m plan for 'new generation' of schools


Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, announced the allocation of AED1.5 billion ($410 million) to build the first tranche of a "new generation" of Emirati schools. He also launched a plan to transform the Higher Colleges of Technology into economic zones and approved an AED100 million fund to nurture student projects and support the career development of 65,000 students in the hospitality, retail, oil and gas and logistics sectors. The announcements were made during a visit to educational institutions in Fujairah and Kalbaa in Sharjah.



 Sheikh Hamdan approves Dubai Silk Road strategy


Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, has approved the Dubai Silk Road strategy that seeks to build on the emirate's position as a strategic trade link between east and west, and north and south. The strategy was prepared by the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) in collaboration with key government entities. It comprises nine initiatives and 33 projects that will see the collaboration of Emirates, Dubai Airports, Dubai South, Dubai Free Zones (DFZ) Council, Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, DP World, Dubai Municipality, Jebel Ali Free Zone.



 Dubai government vows to pay SMEs earlier


Dubai plans to expedite government payments to small and medium-sized companies in an effort to revive economic growth in the Middle East’s trade and business hub. The government will pay SMEs within 30 days instead of 90 days, according to the state-run WAM news agency. Dubai government will set a classification of the SMEs entitled to receive their dues within 30 days. The measure is expected to result in 1.6 billion dirhams ($435 million) of additional liquidity to the companies, the news agency said without elaborating. The plan also includes a reduction in insurance costs for SMEs (to the range of 1-3 percent instead of 2-5 percent) that will not affect their eligibility for government tenders.



 Dubai launches online marketplace to boost tourist attractions


Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has officially launched its B2B Attractions Marketplace. The online platform, called Priohub, aims to connect attractions and experiences across the city with global audiences and relevant channel partners. The initiative has been designed to help attractions access the industry’s network of B2B resellers, increasing productivity across the breadth of Dubai’s destination offering.



Dubai Chamber forms a new council to boost NZ economic ties


Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has announced the formation of the New Zealand Business Council (NZBC) in Dubai in a move to strengthen UAE-New Zealand relations and expand bilateral economic ties. The New Zealand Business Council is the 50th country-specific business council to be established in Dubai under the umbrella of Dubai Chamber. It has a membership of about 100 New Zealand companies that operate in a wide range of economic sectors, including healthcare, public relations, legal services, education, agriculture, food and beverage, trade, aviation, hospitality and tourism.



Number of ultra-rich in the Middle East to rise 20% in five years


The population of ultra-high net worth individuals in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Jeddah and Riyadh are expected to rise 15 percent over the next five years, according to a new report from Knight Frank. According to Knight Frank’s ‘wealth report’, the global UHNWI population is expected to rise by 22 percent over the same time period, with the population in the greater Middle East growing 20 percent. The report also noted that 63 percent of the world’s UHNWIs saw their wealth increase in 2018.



UAE healthcare operator NMC reports record net profits


UAE-based private healthcare operator NMC Health on Thursday reported record annual net profits of $251.9 million, an increase of more than 20 percent on 2017. The company also posted record revenues of more than $2 billion last year on the back of continued efficiencies at existing facilities and successful integration of acquired assets.  It said the healthcare division continued to drive NMC's growth with expansion into Saudi Arabia and extension of the IVF platform. The company added that it has seen a strong start to this year, reinforcing confidence in operational performance and outlook for 2019 of a rise of 22-24 percent in revenue growth