Moody’s has estimated that the UAE’s removal of fuel subsidies has added 0.7 per cent to the Emirate’s overall GDP. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
Moody’s has estimated that the UAE’s removal of fuel subsidies has added 0.7 per cent to the Emirate’s overall GDP. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

Subsidy cuts and VAT will aid development, UAE business figures say



More than two-thirds of senior business figures in the UAE believe reforms such as cutting fuel subsidies and the introduction of duties such as value-added tax are necessary to boost development in the region.

Research conducted exclusively for The National by Borderless Access found that 69 per cent of respondents in the UAE and 66 per cent of Saudis felt that subsidy cuts and the introduction of VAT would help regional development.

Mathias Angonin, the lead analyst for the UAE for Moody’s, said the ratings agency views both moves as “credit positive”. It has estimated that the UAE’s removal of fuel subsidies added 0.7 per cent of GDP to fiscal revenue.

“Saudi Arabia has increased petroleum prices, but they remain below UAE prices and below market prices generally,” said Mr Angonin.

If Saudi Arabia were to abolish fuel and electricity subsidies, this could contribute up to 3.2 per cent to its GDP.

“Removing subsidies removes an element of volatility in the fiscal balance,” said Mr Angonin. “If oil prices were to rise again, then there’s no additional cost incurred by the government. That’s important for us in terms of better forecasting of the fiscal balance going forward.”

Similarly, the introduction of VAT, which has been proposed across all Arabian Gulf states for 2018 at a rate of 5 per cent, will broaden the tax base in both countries, providing greater stability during downturns, he said.

__________

The road ahead

Throughout the year, The National will be running reports focused on sentiment within the business communities in the UAE and Saudi Arabia around a series of key issues affecting the regional economy as we look ahead to 2017 and beyond. Survey results will be provided by the online marketing and research firm Borderless Access. Email business@thenational.ae or WhatsApp 056 995 1624 to tell us what matters most to you.

__________

“The fiscal gains would very much depend on the exemptions that are decided. The IMF, for example, estimates that 5 per cent for the UAE would bring in 1.5 per cent fiscal [government revenue] gains for the UAE, which is a reasonable amount. It’s quite small compared to the actual fiscal deficit we forecast for 2018, but it’s a good start.

“The gains are pretty much the same in Saudi Arabia – it’s 1.6 per cent. That being said, it’s also a cross-cyclical measure, like subsidy reform. [That] it’s implemented at a time when there is uncertainty whether oil prices will recover will also affect consumption. We think that it will have an inflationary effect of about 1 per cent in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia.”

Jeanin Daou, the Middle East indirect tax leader for PwC, said experience in other countries “suggests a one-off inflationary effect linked to the introduction of VAT or increase in VAT rates”.

This can be constrained by regulation, with consumer protection bodies taking measures “to prevent opportunistic pricing behaviours”.

Stephen Anderson, the Middle East Markets leader for PwC, said investors in international money markets were supportive of the reforms.

“Money markets are looking for governments to have the public finances under control. Subsidy reform and measures to raise revenue should help this. But the governments need to do this without harming long-term economic growth prospects, which comes down to the pace and depth of reform.”

Dushyant Gupta, the senior vice president of Borderless Access, said responses to the poll showed there were “polarised sentiments” about the reforms, but that the overall positivity showed “that this region’s audience is well aware of these fiscal measures and [their] impact on the economic growth”

mfahy@thenational.ae

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PROFILE BOX

Company name: Overwrite.ai

Founder: Ayman Alashkar

Started: Established in 2020

Based: Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai

Sector: PropTech

Initial investment: Self-funded by founder

Funding stage: Seed funding, in talks with angel investors

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

Can NRIs vote in the election?

Indians residing overseas cannot cast their ballot abroad

Non-resident Indians or NRIs can vote only by going to a polling booth in their home constituency

There are about 3.1 million NRIs living overseas

Indians have urged political parties to extend the right to vote to citizens residing overseas

A committee of the Election Commission of India approved of proxy voting for non-resident Indians

Proxy voting means that a person can authorise someone residing in the same polling booth area to cast a vote on his behalf.

This option is currently available for the armed forces, police and government officials posted outside India

A bill was passed in the lower house of India’s parliament or the Lok Sabha to extend proxy voting to non-resident Indians

However, this did not come before the upper house or Rajya Sabha and has lapsed

The issue of NRI voting draws a huge amount of interest in India and overseas

Over the past few months, Indians have received messages on mobile phones and on social media claiming that NRIs can cast their votes online

The Election Commission of India then clarified that NRIs could not vote online

The Election Commission lodged a complaint with the Delhi Police asking it to clamp down on the people spreading misinformation

Yemen's Bahais and the charges they often face

The Baha'i faith was made known in Yemen in the 19th century, first introduced by an Iranian man named Ali Muhammad Al Shirazi, considered the Herald of the Baha'i faith in 1844.

The Baha'i faith has had a growing number of followers in recent years despite persecution in Yemen and Iran. 

Today, some 2,000 Baha'is reside in Yemen, according to Insaf. 

"The 24 defendants represented by the House of Justice, which has intelligence outfits from the uS and the UK working to carry out an espionage scheme in Yemen under the guise of religion.. aimed to impant and found the Bahai sect on Yemeni soil by bringing foreign Bahais from abroad and homing them in Yemen," the charge sheet said. 

Baha'Ullah, the founder of the Bahai faith, was exiled by the Ottoman Empire in 1868 from Iran to what is now Israel. Now, the Bahai faith's highest governing body, known as the Universal House of Justice, is based in the Israeli city of Haifa, which the Bahais turn towards during prayer. 

The Houthis cite this as collective "evidence" of Bahai "links" to Israel - which the Houthis consider their enemy. 

 

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

TUESDAY'S ORDER OF PLAY

Centre Court

Starting at 2pm:

Malin Cilic (CRO) v Benoit Paire (FRA) [8]

Not before 4pm:

Dan Evans (GBR) v Fabio Fogini (ITA) [4]

Not before 7pm:

Pablo Carreno Busta (SPA) v Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) [2]

Roberto Bautista Agut (SPA) [5] v Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)

Court One

Starting at 2pm

Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND) v Dennis Novak (AUT) 

Joao Sousa (POR) v Filip Krajinovic (SRB)

Not before 5pm:

Rajeev Ram (USA) and Joe Salisbury (GBR) [1] v Marin Cilic v Novak Djokovic (SRB)

Nikoloz Basilashvili v Ricardas Berankis (LTU)

if you go

The flights

Flydubai flies to Podgorica or nearby Tivat via Sarajevo from Dh2,155 return including taxes. Turkish Airlines flies from Abu Dhabi and Dubai to Podgorica via Istanbul; alternatively, fly with Flydubai from Dubai to Belgrade and take a short flight with Montenegro Air to Podgorica. Etihad flies from Abu Dhabi to Podgorica via Belgrade. Flights cost from about Dh3,000 return including taxes. There are buses from Podgorica to Plav. 

The tour

While you can apply for a permit for the route yourself, it’s best to travel with an agency that will arrange it for you. These include Zbulo in Albania (www.zbulo.org) or Zalaz in Montenegro (www.zalaz.me).

 

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo

Power: 240hp at 5,500rpm

Torque: 390Nm at 3,000rpm

Transmission: eight-speed auto

Price: from Dh122,745

On sale: now

FIGHT INFO

Men’s 60kg Round 1:

Ahmad Shuja Jamal (AFG) beat Krisada Takhiankliang (THA) - points 
Hyan Aljmyah (SYR) beat Akram Alyminee (YEM) - retired Round 1
Ibrahim Bilal (UAE) beat Bhanu Pratap Pandit (IND) - TKO Round 1

Men’s 71kg Round 1:
Seyed Kaveh Soleyman (IRI) beat Abedel Rahman (JOR) - RSC round 3.
Amine Al Moatassime (UAE) walk over Ritiz Puri (NEP)

The specs: 2018 Volkswagen Teramont

Price, base / as tested Dh137,000 / Dh189,950

Engine 3.6-litre V6

Gearbox Eight-speed automatic

Power 280hp @ 6,200rpm

Torque 360Nm @ 2,750rpm

Fuel economy, combined 11.7L / 100km

UAE FIXTURES

October 18 – 7.30pm, UAE v Oman, Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
October 19 – 7.30pm, UAE v Ireland, Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
October 21 – 2.10pm, UAE v Hong Kong, Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
October 22 – 2.10pm, UAE v Jersey, Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
October 24 – 10am, UAE v Nigeria, Abu Dhabi Cricket Oval 1
October 27 – 7.30pm, UAE v Canada, Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi

October 29 – 2.10pm, Playoff 1 – A2 v B3; 7.30pm, Playoff 2 – A3 v B2, at Dubai International Stadium.
October 30 – 2.10pm, Playoff 3 – A4 v Loser of Play-off 1; 7.30pm, Playoff 4 – B4 v Loser of Play-off 2 at Dubai International Stadium

November 1 – 2.10pm, Semifinal 1 – B1 v Winner of Play-off 1; 7.30pm, Semifinal 2 – A1 v Winner of Play-off 2 at Dubai International Stadium
November 2 – 2.10pm, Third place Playoff – B1 v Winner of Play-off 1; 7.30pm, Final, at Dubai International Stadium

How Tesla’s price correction has hit fund managers

Investing in disruptive technology can be a bumpy ride, as investors in Tesla were reminded on Friday, when its stock dropped 7.5 per cent in early trading to $575.

It recovered slightly but still ended the week 15 per cent lower and is down a third from its all-time high of $883 on January 26. The electric car maker’s market cap fell from $834 billion to about $567bn in that time, a drop of an astonishing $267bn, and a blow for those who bought Tesla stock late.

The collapse also hit fund managers that have gone big on Tesla, notably the UK-based Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust and Cathie Wood’s ARK Innovation ETF.

Tesla is the top holding in both funds, making up a hefty 10 per cent of total assets under management. Both funds have fallen by a quarter in the past month.

Matt Weller, global head of market research at GAIN Capital, recently warned that Tesla founder Elon Musk had “flown a bit too close to the sun”, after getting carried away by investing $1.5bn of the company’s money in Bitcoin.

He also predicted Tesla’s sales could struggle as traditional auto manufacturers ramp up electric car production, destroying its first mover advantage.

AJ Bell’s Russ Mould warns that many investors buy tech stocks when earnings forecasts are rising, almost regardless of valuation. “When it works, it really works. But when it goes wrong, elevated valuations leave little or no downside protection.”

A Tesla correction was probably baked in after last year’s astonishing share price surge, and many investors will see this as an opportunity to load up at a reduced price.

Dramatic swings are to be expected when investing in disruptive technology, as Ms Wood at ARK makes clear.

Every week, she sends subscribers a commentary listing “stocks in our strategies that have appreciated or dropped more than 15 per cent in a day” during the week.

Her latest commentary, issued on Friday, showed seven stocks displaying extreme volatility, led by ExOne, a leader in binder jetting 3D printing technology. It jumped 24 per cent, boosted by news that fellow 3D printing specialist Stratasys had beaten fourth-quarter revenues and earnings expectations, seen as good news for the sector.

By contrast, computational drug and material discovery company Schrödinger fell 27 per cent after quarterly and full-year results showed its core software sales and drug development pipeline slowing.

Despite that setback, Ms Wood remains positive, arguing that its “medicinal chemistry platform offers a powerful and unique view into chemical space”.

In her weekly video view, she remains bullish, stating that: “We are on the right side of change, and disruptive innovation is going to deliver exponential growth trajectories for many of our companies, in fact, most of them.”

Ms Wood remains committed to Tesla as she expects global electric car sales to compound at an average annual rate of 82 per cent for the next five years.

She said these are so “enormous that some people find them unbelievable”, and argues that this scepticism, especially among institutional investors, “festers” and creates a great opportunity for ARK.

Only you can decide whether you are a believer or a festering sceptic. If it’s the former, then buckle up.

Huroob Ezterari

Director: Ahmed Moussa

Starring: Ahmed El Sakka, Amir Karara, Ghada Adel and Moustafa Mohammed

Three stars

Draw for Europa League last-16

Istanbul Basaksehir v Copenhagen; Olympiakos Piraeus v Wolverhampton Wanderers

Rangers v Bayer Leverkusen; VfL Wolfsburg v Shakhtar Donetsk; Inter Milan v Getafe

Sevilla v AS Roma; Eintracht Frankfurt or Salzburg v Basel; LASK v Manchester United

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