Find Out: Will UAE banks increase their fees due to VAT?

The UAE Central Bank has asked local banks not to increase the existing fees for customers due to upcoming Value-Added Tax (VAT).

“Banks and finance companies will not be permitted to exceed the fees structure for individual customers because of VAT,” reads the notice sent by the apex bank to local banks in the UAE on Thursday.

It also asked the banks not to increase their existing fees structure and levels for non-individual customers as a result of VAT.

As part of the GCC framework agreed among the regional bloc, the UAE will levy five per cent VAT from January 1, 2018 on a host of goods and services. Saudi Arabia will also join the UAE in implementing VAT. Other regional countries will implement VAT at a later stage.

Mayank Sawhney, director, MaxGrowth Consulting, earlier told Khaleej Times that Processing Fee, File Opening Fee, Assessment Fee, Evaluation Fee, Account Management Fee etc. charged by the banks will be subject to 5 per cent VAT in the UAE.

In case of credit cards, fees such as Annual Credit Card Fee, Late Payment Fee, Processing Fee for transferring outstanding payment from one credit card to another etc. will attract five per cent VAT, Sawhney adds.

The UAE Central Bank told banks and financial companies that they will absorb the applicable VAT until further instructions from the apex bank.

Moreover, any applicable VAT on the services provided by the Central Bank will be absorbed by the Central Bank, said the notification.

Kojokrom Runs on 29th December with Bene of Di Asa Fame

The maiden edition of Kojokrom’s biggest health walk has been set with plans underway for the programme to begin on the 29th of this month. All roads lead to the Methodist Park where it will all begin at exactly 5am. Bene of Di Asa fame is undoubtedly the biggest name leading the crusade as her way of saying thank you to the good people of Kojokrom whiles we all keep fit.

There are going to be free health screening and of course aerobics opposite After Waakye Restaurant. Lest I forget, we are going to be entertained by the best brass band in town. That is something we all can’t afford to miss!

UAE Petrol Prices to go up in January

The new prices are inclusive of VAT

Petrol and diesel prices in the UAE will go up in January, according to a monthly bulletin from the UAE’s Ministry of Energy.

According to the ministry, the price of 98 unleaded gasoline will rise to 0.09 fils to AED 2.24 liter, while 95 unleaded gasoline will go up 0.08 fils to AED 2.12 and 91 unleaded gasoline will go up 0.08 fils to AED 2.05 per liter.

The ministry added that diesel will rise 0.13 fils to AED 2.33 in January.

The new prices are inclusive of value-added tax (VAT), which takes effect on January 1.

In July 2015, the UAE’s Ministry of Energy announced removal of subsidy on petrol and diesel prices, with market-linked prices starting from August 1, 2015.

Confirmed: Why a light show will replace the Burj Khalifa NYE fireworks

The NYE light show at the Burj Khalifa is expected to be a Guinness World Record breaking attempt…

Earlier this month, we brought you the news that the annual Burj Khalifa fireworks would not be happening for New Year’s Eve this year.

In its place, event organisers Emaar advertised ‘Light Up 2018’, described as a ‘never before seen spectacle’ that uses Downtown’s buildings as a canvas.

And now Brigadier Abdullah Ali Al Ghaith, director of the general department of organisations, protective security and emergency has outlined the reason for the decision, citing safety as the primary reason.

In a statement to Gulf News, the official explained: “Lasers are safer than fireworks. The New Year’s Eve lasers have been places all over Dubai. The aim is to facilitate all simple traffic and ensure flow.”

Few details have been released (it’s being touted as a surprise), but the choreographed show will be displayed across Downtown Dubai’s famous buildings. It is also expected to incorporate water and music performances from the Dubai Fountain.

The New Year’s Eve celebrations will also be live-streamed on Twitter for the second year in a row.

Ahmed Thani Al Matrooshi, managing director of Emaar Properties said: “This year we replace fireworks with a laser show. We wanted to introduce something new to stop using old methods. It will bring about a lot of fun and amusement to the properties and spectators.”

He added: “Emaar seeks to utilise this event to spotlight the Burj Khalifa, the Downtown area and Dubai as an Emirate”.

10 of Sheikh Mohammed’s best moments in 2017

2017 has been a big year for Dubai, and even more so for its leader – HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president of the UAE and ruler of Dubai.

Whether he was chairing a global summit, sending aid to a country in need or hanging out with fellow royals, Sheikh Mohammed handled every situation with characteristic aplomb. Here are his top 10 moments of 2017.

1. When he got really candid

In February, Sheikh Mohammed held a fascinating Q&A session at the World Government Summit, sharing his views on Trump, Arab female empowerment, the crippling nature of corruption and more. Here’s one of our favourite quotes from Dubai’s leader (and definitely something to think about as we compose our list of New Year’s resolutions):

“If we had 48 hours in a day, we would have four Dubais and two UAEs. Time management is very important. Time flies and it won’t come back. That’s why I insist on learning new things every day. That’s why we need time for sports and time to meditate so that we can better serve our people and country. Success is 50 per cent, the other 50 per cent is the failure of your opponent.”

2. When he made sure the punishment fit the crime

You might remember back in March, a video showing a white 4×4 doing donuts and driving dangerously in City Walk went viral. Sheikh Mohammed wasn’t having a bar of it – and ordered the driver and the other men in the car to clean Dubai’s streets for four hours every day for 30 days as a form of community service.

A few weeks later, Sheikh Mohammed ordered a group of men who carried out an act of animal cruelty on a cat to clean Dubai Zoo for three months.

3. When he sent 100 tonnes of aid to Madagascar

When a devastating cyclone swept through Madagascar in March, Sheikh Mohammed freed up a private plane to send around 100 tonnes of aid worth Dhs1 million to the Indian Ocean island. The delivery included medical supplies, food, and shelter relief items.

4. When he caught up with the Queen

While attending the Royal Windsor Endurance Race in May, Sheikh Mohammed (and his son, Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan) spent some quality time on the sidelines with his friend and fellow royal, Queen Elizabeth II. The pair can often be seen chatting at racing events, with both royals sharing a passion for horses.

5. When he suited up for the Epsom Derby

We don’t often see Sheikh Mohammed dressed in western clothes, but in June, we were treated to the rare sight of the leader wearing a top hat and tails while attending the Epsom Derby. His wife, HRH Princess Haya, had a matching moment with the Queen, both royals dressed in lemon yellow.

6. When he released prisoners for Ramadan

The annual pardoning of prisoners just before the beginning of Ramadan is a tradition that has been in the UAE for decades, and this year Sheikh Mohammed announced the release of 1,014 prisoners in Dubai. This was a significant increase on last year, when just over 700 prisoners were pardoned.

7. When he halved everyone’s traffic fines

2017 was the Year of Giving, and in an extremely generous move, Sheikh Mohammed announced that all traffic fines dating back to 2016 and earlier would be cut in half. FYI, the “discount” is in place until the end of the year – so if you still have some fines racked up, now would be a good time to pay them.

8. When he helped an English village save its chapel

Last November, residents of Godolphin Cross in Cornwall contacted Sheikh Mohammed, as they were struggling to raise the funds to purchase the Godolphin Methodist Chapel, which they wanted to use as a community hall. Why did they turn to the Dubai ruler for help? Well, it was a man from the community – the 2nd Earl of Godolphin – who bred the legendary Godolphin Arabian back in 1724, the horse which all of Sheikh Mohammed’s thoroughbreds are descended from. It was a move that paid off – in June, it was revealed that Sheikh Mohammed made a secret donation to the community, which enabled them to buy their chapel.

9. When he rescued a trio of cyclists from the desert

Now, this actually happened last November – but the story only came to light this year, and it’s too good not to include. Dubai teacher Kayleigh Hutchison and two of her friends decided to head out to Al Qudra for a leisurely cycle, but along the way, Hutchison’s bike chain fell off. Stuck in the desert in the dark, with their phone about to run out of battery, the group started to panic – but then who should come to their rescue but Sheikh Mohammed and his entourage. The girls requested a photo with the ruler, who was only too happy to oblige.

10. When he helped the Rohingya refugees

The Rohingya refugee crisis made headlines all over the world in 2017, and once again Sheikh Mohammed stepped in to support those in need. The ruler first ordered that an emergency air bridge be set up to create a connection between the UAE and the more than 500,000 Rohingya refugees that have fled from violence in Myanmar to southern Bangladesh, before offering his private 747 for airlifts. “The UAE does not provide conditional assistance and neither does it for the sake of reciprocal interests,” Sheikh Mohammed explained. “It does so only for the good and stability of all peoples.”

No increase in salaries to cope with VAT, says UAE Minister

There will be no increase in salaries to cope with the levying of the value added tax (VAT), Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, State Minister for Financial Affairs, told the Federal National Council on Tuesday.

Al Tayer said the tax will have minimal socio-economic impact on people and investments. “The Impact on current, future investments in the country is expected at 0.68%,” Al Tayer said, adding VAT aimed at “achieving financial sustainability” for government.

Implementation

The minister was answering questions about the implementation of VAT from the beginning of next year.

Al Tayer said there will be no delay of implementation for any businesses, saying banks and other big businesses have systems that can deal with VAT, they just need to activate these systems.

“No company will be given more time to start VAT implementation, nor any company will be exempt from VAT,” Al Tayer said.

Members of the Federal National Council raised with Al Tayer the concerns of residents and businesses over VAT, set to be levied from January 1, 2018.

Dr Saeed Abdullah Al Mutawa, a member from Sharjah, put two questions on the impact of VAT on the national income and the Government’s plan to offset inflationary effects of the tax and whether salaries of employees will be increased.

VAT from Januray 1, 2018

The UAE will be levying VAT from the beginning of next year. The rate of VAT will be 5 per cent.

The House, however, passed a motion to offset the impact of VAT on beneficiaries of social security and pensioners, to help them cope with the social and economic impact of the tax.

The country’s average inflation rate was 4 per cent in 2015. The inflation rate is expected to be around 2.5 per cent this year given the firming US dollar and a decline in imported items coupled with the slowdown in transportation and housing rents.

VAT will provide the UAE with a new source of revenue, which will continue to be utilised to provide high-quality public services. It will also help the Government move towards its vision of reducing dependence on oil and other hydrocarbons as a source of revenue.

VAT, as a general consumption tax, will apply to the majority of transactions in goods and services. A limited number of exemptions may be granted.

As a result, the cost of living is likely to increase slightly, but this will vary depending on an individual’s lifestyle and spending behaviour.

Hamad Ahmad Al Rahoumi, a member from Dubai, put three questions on banks’ demands to delay levying of VAT and change in retirement laws to give Emirati pensioners annual inflation-linked rises.

The Government requires businesses to be clear about how much VAT an individual is required to pay for each transaction. Based on this information, individuals can decide whether to buy something.

Information

Marwan Ahmad Bin Galita, First Deputy Speaker of the House, put a question on educating members of the public about the new tax.

The introduction of VAT could push the cost of living and cost of doing business higher in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, according to investment professionals and finance experts.

A VAT rate of five per cent could help generate additional revenue equivalent to about 1.5 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates.

Other experts, however, say VAT will decrease the consumer purchasing power and hence suppress demand, and thus be anti-inflationary. Whether the introduction of VAT will increase inflation or not, however, depends on other factors such as economic growth and interest rates, they say.

The House will also review the 2018 budget, approved by the Cabinet last month.

A record Dh51.4 billion federal budget for next year was approved with a focus on education, health care, and community wellbeing. Over the next four years, a total budget of Dh201.1billion has also been approved.

Photos: Slay Queen Used For Money Ritual By Yahoo(Sakawa) Boys

The death of a Nigerian Slay Queen identified as Tanwa a.k.a Princess Lavish which left her friends in shock, has been linked to rituals by yahoo boys.

According to Facebook user Iam KayKay, Princess Lavish who lived a lavish lifestyle, sharing of exotic places/events she turned up for and expensive phones she used, reportedly allowed herself to be used by those who killed her for rituals.

Iam KayKay who was dragged by followers after his post, defended himself claiming the post was made to warn other girls. His post read;

#RIPTOTHECOMPETITION
You allowed them to use you too bad. Girls of now a days want to use iphone8 and your father doesn’t have have Nokia torchlight. Today LEKKI tomorrow IKEJA….they claim slay queens. She named herself PRINCESS LAVISH and now she has lavished her life so painful. I’m sorry if I have hurt anyone’s feelings, i’m just trying to pass a message to other girls to be very careful….. I get frightened and upset when I see young people dying. #Waitforyourshine #Thegrassisntgreenerontheotherside #NobeeverythingweydeyshinebeGOLD #Shakaragosoonend
Nigerian Slay Queen Friends of Princess Lavish, have also taken to social media to pay tributes to her.

Saudi Crown Prince is the Owner Of World’s Most Expensive House Worth Over $390Million

While Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is currently spearheading an anti-corruption probe and wealth accumulation at home that saw more than 200 princes and dozens of former ministers being detained, reports have emerged that the crown prince is the owner of a $300 million chateau near Versailles, France.

According to an exclusive report by The New York Times, Chateau Louis XIV landscaped in a 57-acre park in Louveciennes, near Versailles, was sold anonymously in 2015, with Forbes magazine calling it the “world’s most expensive home”.

The report states that the chateau’s ownership is meticulously hidden through various shell companies in France and Luxembourg, all of which are owned by Eight Investment Company, a Saudi firm led by the head of Prince Mohammed’s personal foundation. Sources close to the Saudi royal family said the purchase was for the crown prince.

The Eight Investment Company came to light when Paradise Papers, records leaked from a Bermuda law firm Appleby, broke news. The company also backed Prince Mohammed’s 440-foot yacht purchase in 2015.

A Leonardo da Vinci painting “Salvador Mundi” sold for a record $450 million in November, is reported to have been acquired by an obscure Saudi prince, close to Crown Prince Mohammed, as per the report. The revelation that Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud was the buyer, was according to documents reviewed by The New York Times. He is a friend and associate of the country’s 32-year-old Crown Prince.

While Saudi Arabia recently lifted a ban on cinemas after 35 years as part of reforms under the crown prince, the new revelations could do much damage to his anti-corruption probe.

Al-Arabiya had earlier reported that the anti-graft committee under the crown prince was looking into devastating and deadly floods that overwhelmed parts of the city of Jiddah in 2009 and investigating the Saudi government’s response to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus that has killed several hundred people in the past few years.

The government said that the anti-corruption committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed has the right to issue arrest warrants, impose travel restrictions and freeze bank accounts. It can also trace funds, prevent the transfer of funds or the liquidation of assets and take other precautionary measures until cases are referred to the judiciary.

Prince Mohammed’s rise to power began in 2013 when he was named the head of the Crown Prince’s Court, with the rank of a minister. He capped his rapid rise to power in June this year by replacing his elder cousin Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, widely known as MbN, as crown prince.

Prince Mohammed’s crackdown on corruption is just the latest in a wave of frenetic changes in the kingdom over the past two-and-a-half years. He said he’s determined to remodel his conservative country into a modern state no longer dependent on oil.

With inputs from agencies

Here are some photos below;

 

WATCH: Ras Al Khaimah struck by Purple Lightning

RAS residents were treated to a dazzling display in the sky…

Spectacular footage has emerged of a “purple storm” in Ras Al Khaimah this weekend.

The National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) had forecast that the UAE would experience a burst of unstable weather, with a high chance of thunder and heavy rain in some areas.

On Saturday night, that storm swept through the northern emirates – and judging by the images and videos posted to social media, it was quite a show.

Weather website storm.ae captured the incredible phenomenon:

And check out these amazing photos from a local photographer and storm chaser:

Why does the lightning appear purple? Well, lightning actually comes in a variety of colours, depending on atmospheric and environmental conditions.

According to netweather.tv, purple-tinted lightning is the most commonly observed colour, and is usually caused by high levels of precipitation.

Saturday night’s storm in Ras Al Khaimah also produced a large amount of hail, much to the delight of residents.

Fetish Priest Kills Sakawa Boy for…

Tragedy hit Gomoa Obuasi in the Central Region on Thursday when a fetish priest shot dead a 42-year-old ‘sakawa’ man and injured two others who went to him for juju to become rich, accusing them of being armed robbers.

The deceased, Ibrahim Adam, 42, with his two friends, Kwame Justice, 28, and Thomas Donkoh, 42, all from Agona Swedru, approached the fetish priest for assistance to become rich.

However, after waiting for three months without getting rich, they tried to demand their money from the fetish priest for failing to make it happen.

The body of Ibrahim Adams has been deposited at the Agona Swedru Government Hospital Morgue for autopsy.

The other two victims, Thomas Donkor and Kwame Justice, who sustained serious injuries, have been admitted at the Agona Swedru Government Hospital.

The fetish priest, Nana Kwame aka Obuotuo has been arrested by the Agona Swedru District Police Command to assist in investigations.

Briefing DAILY GUIDE on Thursday, the Agona Swedru Divisional Crime Officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police Kennedy Adusei, said the incident happened around 1:30pm when the three stormed the suspect’s house to collect their money.

According to DSP Adusei, the victims consulted the fetish priest sometime ago to double their money and he charged them GH¢1000 which they readily paid.

The Divisional Crime Officer stated that the suspect gave them the date on which the money would start flowing.

He added that when the aggressive victims, who did not get the money at the expected time, went back to Nana Kwame to demand the GH¢1000 they had paid him, a row ensued.

He noted that the suspect got angry, picked up a gun and started shooting at them, resulting in the death of Adams with the two others getting injured.

The fetish priest claimed that he suspected they were armed robbers.

DSP Adusei said Kwame Justice reported the incident to the police and the fetish priest was arrested.