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Dubai — The Financial Sector and Social do’s and dont’s

Financial and Social Side of Dubai

When moving to Dubai, you’re moving to a part of the world that has a very different culture and customs from the West. Put a foot wrong and you can end up in trouble with the authorities or with the locals, depending on your misdemeanour.

Here are a few things you should know to make sure this doesn’t happen.

The Financial Side

One of the most attractive things for an expat living in Dubai is that there’s no income tax. You may, however, still be liable to pay tax to your country of origin. If you’re planning to stay in Dubai long term, apply for a residency permit and you can avoid this.

Becoming a resident of Dubai means you’ll have to pay council tax. If you own a property and rent it out, you’ll be liable to rental tax.

Naturally, you’ll need to open a bank account in Dubai. To do this, you’ll require a residency permit, a letter of no objection from your employer or sponsor, and a salary certificate. You may want to take out a personal loan for big expenses such as a car or your child’s education (education in Dubai is expensive). The good news is that you don’t have to do all your personal banking with one bank to take out a personal loan in the UAE.

Starting a Business

Dubai is a terrific place to start your business. Set yours up in one of the emirates free zones and you’ll be exempt from paying taxes or customs duties. As part of this drive to encourage international trade, the authorities also lifted foreign businesses’ obligation to share ownership with a UAE national.

One of the other perks is that there are no restrictions on recruitment or sponsorship, making it easier to expand and promote your business.

The Social Side

Fairly conservative dress is best when you’re in in public. Men should avoid wearing shorts, and women shouldn’t wear clothes that display their shoulders or the top halves of their arms. If you’re going to the beach or spending a day by the pool, you may want to walk around in them elsewhere in the area. Keep them to the beach and pool.

Likewise, you should behave conservatively in public. Avoid showing affection to your other half in public, especially if you’re not married. Members of the opposite sex should resist the temptation to flirt with each other.

Needless to say, drunkenness isn’t approved, and if you wish to buy alcohol you must have a licence. This licence is only be valid in the emirate that granted you it.

Other things to watch out for are the use of audio equipment and powerful cameras. You may need a licence for them, so check with a UAE embassy in your country of origin before leaving.  One last thing is that if you decide to pay for something by cheque, be sure you have the money in your account to cover it. Not only is a bounced cheque embarrassing: it’s illegal and can land you in prison. Ouch!

As you can see, while you go about your business in Dubai, perfectly innocent things you’d do at home can be misconstrued, frowned upon or even constitute a criminal act crime. Follow these tips to stay on the straight and narrow, and you can enjoy a relaxing expat experience in Dubai.

Click here for more information on do’s and don’ts in Dubai.

dubai mall open after coronavirus lock down

Cooking Gas gets 20% expensive in Dubai

Inflation scored another point in the daily lives of expats when the price of cooking gas cylinders went up to 20% in four emirates — Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain.

The 22kg medium-sized cylinder, which is the highest in demand for domestic use, will go up by Dh20 to Dh115.

The price of 11kg cylinders has gone up from Dh60 to Dh75, while the price of the 44kg cylinders, used for commercial purposes, have gone up from Dh200 to Dh240.

cooking gas in dubai

The prices for 11kg, 22kg and 44kg have risen by 25, 20 and 21 per cent respectively. The hike in prices comes close on the heels of similar hikes in Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah on December 8.

In Sharjah, the 11kg cylinder now costs Dh10 more and Dh17 more in Ras Al Khaimah.

Meanwhile, in Abu Dhabi the prices remain unchanged, gas distributors said. The cost of cooking gas cylinders is already the lowest in the capital with the price being Dh20 for 11kg, Dh30-Dh35 for 22kg and Dh60 for 44kg.

Will there be a merger between Emirates and Etihad?

Emirates and Etihad merger

Emirates and Etihad airlines symbolize Dubai and Abu Dhabi, how one is all glorified, mostly in self-inspired awe and admiration, hiding the defects and weaknesses under the rug, and how the other is professionally catching up, one systematic step at a time.

According to ArabianBusiness, the UAE’s population of just over four million people is nowhere near big enough to sustain two such large airlines.

Yet, here we have Emirates which flew 21 million passengers last year, and is said to be set to become the world’s largest airline during the next ten years. Emirates is awaiting 58 Airbus A380’s – the biggest planes in the sky. Such is the power said to be enjoyed by Tim Clark, head of Emirates, within the industry that he was believed to be able to pressure Airbus and Boeing into designing aircraft that are ideally suited to the needs of his airline, rather than to those of others.

Then came Etihad, set up five years ago and is heavily backed by the Abu Dhabi government, is yet to break even, but is on course to do so. Last year it carried six million passengers.

Since global downturn reached the sands of UAE, rumors of merger between Emirates and Etihad are ripe. Every now and then some news piece, op-ed or analysis comes up, debating the pros and cons of such an action.

It is speculated that since Dubai has been hit by credit crunch driven recession, it will start looking towards its neighbor for financial support, resuling in possible mergers of institutions that have similar target markets.. Recent example of such a merger is announcement by the UAE government about creation of Emirates Development Bank – which is the end product of a merger between two banks and the UAE’s two largest home finance providers.

Last year, when asked about the possibility of a merger, Etihad CEO James Hogan said: “What’s the difference between having Emirates and Etihad nearby to each other here, and the cluster of European hubs – London, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam? Or Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok? We have seen that proximity doesn’t negate viability.

The issue isn’t about competing with other Gulf carriers. The issue is competing with our global rivals, taking market share from them. In the past, European carriers didn’t stop here. They just flew straight over us. Now they stop here. There is a shift going on, from European and Asian hubs to Gulf hubs.

If, for argument’s sake, we take the rumors to be true and consider the merger as happening, here is how Shashank Nigam observes the shape of things to come:

1. Etihad takes a large stake in Emirates, just like Lufthansa has a stake in Austrian or Swiss
2. Both brands should be kept intact
3. Etihad and Emirates optimize their route networks such that they complement each other and don’t bleed each other on major route. For example, instead of offering flight from Sydney to London 20 mins apart from each other, they can be more even spread out throughout the day. And I don’t think an Aussie is concerned whether he would transit in Abu Dhabi or Dubai on his way to London
4. Both Emirates and Etihad should optimize capacity on certain routes. For example, an Etihad A320 can be sent to Cochin or Peshawar, instead of an Emirates B777.
5. They save money through join procurement and technology implementation

Mishaal Al Gergawi believes Emirates – Etihad merger will be a win-win situation:

• Emirates has 127 aircraft and 153 on its order book while Etihad has 46 aircraft and 205 on its order book, which means they will have 280 and 251 respectively. The combination of the fleets would make it the world’s fourth largest airline by aircraft fleet.
• Emirates flies to over 100 destinations and so does Etihad, when you account for its code share destinations as well. They both service similar destinations and so a merged entity would be able to fly to even more destinations.
• Having one large airline in the country with a large airport complex such as Jebel Ali Airport would allow it to negotiate new routes from a much stronger stand point.
• The proximity to Jebel Ali Seaport would fundamentally transform the cargo business, allowing for the development of a mixed use hub where air freight and sea freight solutions can be creatively developed according to a cost and time matrix.

Most importantly, she argues that; Yet the rationale for Emirates and Etihad to merge is more than just synergy. It is about bringing together two airlines that were set up to promote their respective cities and signalling a shift in the mentality of defining where one city ends and the other begins.

Will there be a merger between Emirates and Etihad, only time will tell.