It is no surprise that in this article (see below) of ConstructionWeekonline, there is no hint anywhere that Indians, Pakistanis most interested in UAE property investments make up the most significant percentage of the populations of the respective GCC countries.
Since the advent of oil, the Persian Gulf countries have generally turned into modern states through concurrent processes of development. Rapid population growth in the GCC states has been timed by 10 at least, in the space of few decades through primarily a natural growth in the influx of foreign workers and not through their indigenous population.
It must also be noted that the same countries planning ahead are believed to be somehow facilitating investments of non nationals in any segment of their economies, presumably to counter all those consequences of oil peaking shortly and away from the Gulf region.
Of the top five most active nationalities on Dubizzle Property, the highest interest in the UAE property market came from Indian nationals, accounting for 22% of visits to the platform in 9M 2018.
Indians and Pakistanis are most interested in UAE property investments, Dubizzle said [representational image].
o EThis data echoes figures from Dubai Land Department (DLD), where Indian nationals accounted for more than 4,600 investments worth AED 8.6 billion in the first nine months of this year, representing the largest property investment segment in the UAE.
Pakistanis came in second with 14% of visits to dubizzle Property, followed by Egyptians (6 per cent), Jordanians (4 per cent) and UK nationals (4%).
Egyptians and Jordanians are the top Arab nationalities looking to invest in the UAE property market, according to dubizzle Property.
The two nationalities accounted for 10 per cent of property seekers on the platform in the first three quarters of the year.
This is in line with the figures recently revealed by the Dubai Land Department (DLD) concerning Dubai real estate transactions during the same period, where Jordanians were identified as the highest Arab investors with 644 investments by 548 investors, worth over AED 1.2 billion. Egyptians recorded 719 transactions made by 623 investors, worth over AED 1 billion.
China, France, UAE, and KSA were among the top 20 most active users of the platform, which is also in line with the DLD’s list of top 10 investors by nationality that includes UAE, India, KSA, UK, Pakistan, China, Egypt, Jordan, and France.
“The current soft sales market has made the cost of property ownership more attractive versus the cost of rent, especially for those considering staying in Dubai for five years or more. Long-term expats are increasingly making the leap into ownership as declining prices are now making this investment possible,” commented Matthew Gregory, head of property sales at dubizzle Property.
The United Arab Emirates’ expatriate workers transfer a large portion of their earnings to their families back home. This article of Gulf News published on December 14, 2017 and narrated by Cleofe Maceda, Senior Web Reporterdwells on this segment of the financial life of that country. The same, by the way, goes on in all neighbouring countries of the GCC although a slowdown if not a plunge in these have lately been noticed mainly in Oman. It has been heard that all GCC countries were mulling the idea of introducing some sort of taxation onto these money transfers or remittances; these were immediately cautioned against by the IMF. The global organisation mentioned that imposing extra charges on money transfers could be “highly regressive” for the region. On the other hand, the recent economic slowdown in the region has not exactly helped by adversely impacting all migrant worker movements. Despite all of the above, the UAE expat remittances reach $35 billion in 9 months.
Indian expats send most money, representing more than a third of total remittances Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
Dubai: Expatriates working in the UAE are sending home billions of dirhams more than they did last year, and one Asian country has emerged as the biggest recipient of remittances, official figures show.
Between January and September this year, foreign residents in the UAE sent Dh121.1 billion to their home countries or other recipients abroad
Expatriates from India transferred the bulk of the cash home, with beneficiaries in the Asian country receiving Dh15.46 billion in remittances, representing more than a third (37.9 per cent) of the total outbound fund transfers.
The total remittances for the first nine months of the year is 2.1 per cent higher than the Dh118.6 billion cash that moved out of the UAE during the same period in 2016, news agency WAM reported, quoting figures from the UAE Central Bank.
In the last quarter alone, the amount of money forwarded by expatriates to their home countries climbed to Dh43.3 billion, an increase of 14.1 per cent from Dh37.9 billion during the same period last year.
Top beneficiaries of UAE remittances:
After Indians, expatriates from Pakistan emerged as the second top remitter in the UAE. Pakistani beneficiaries received 8.7 per cent of the total remittances, followed by Filipinos in the third place with 6.7 per cent.A huge bulk of the funds were coursed through money transfer operators in the UAE, with exchange outlets transferring Dh31 billion between July and September.
Egyptians made up 4.8 per cent of the remittances received, while Americans accounted for 4.1 per cent and British 3.7 per cent.
Beneficiaries from Jordan were also among the top ten recipients, accounting for 3.1 per cent of the remittances, followed by Bengalis (2.9 per cent), Swiss nationals (2.4 per cent) and Lebanese (1.8 per cent).
Industry sources said UAE expatriates continued to remit more money home because they wanted to take advantage of the strong US dollar, to which the UAE dirham is pegged.
“The rise in remittances is a reflection of the growing UAE economy. UAE continues to be a preferred destination for expats who are looking for better job opportunities and good quality of life,” said Sudhesh Giriyan, COO of Xpress Money.
“Also, the depreciation of certain Asian currencies against a strong US dollar encouraged expats from these countries to send more money back home. Additionally, in recent years, UAE has strategically diversified its focus on developing its infrastructure, retail, technology industries, among others, to reduce dependence on oil – a move that has proven to be extremely beneficial for the economy while also attracting skilled talent from across the globe
This past week in the Gulf region, business was as usual and . . . life generally carried on unperturbed by the now well settled in lower price of oil and the well publicised blockade of Qatar by its nearest neighbours. Here are some snapshots amongst the very few of importance as compared to those coming out of the rest of the MENA’s and the Arab World.
Indeed, Saudi Arabia appears now to be failing on its 2 open fronts of Yemen and Qatar. In the latter, it failed to entirely bring its geopolitical rival to heed by cutting off its access to food, funding and fuel.It even managed to effectively turn Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund from a globe-trotting buyer to a domestic defender. The Qatar Investment Authority has so far injected almost $40 billion out of total reserves of $340 billion to support its domestic economy, according to Bloomberg News.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s national carrier Qatar Airways as adamant as ever in its ambition to expand worldwide would be the first of the Gulf countries airlines to operate a direct flight to Cardiff, capital city of Wales with a first departure from Doha on May 1, 2018.
This will also be Qatar Airways’ fifth destination within the United Kingdom, in addition to existing routes to London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh.
In the UAE, Mashreq Bank, a Dubai-based and Al Ghurair family owned service local bank, is understood to be shedding 10% of its workforce of over 4,000 in the next 12 months as investments in artificial technology are lessening its reliance on human resources, its chief executive said to The National before adding :
“The know-how of artificial intelligence did not exist before, more and more of it is becoming available,” Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair (pictured above) said in an interview with The National on Wednesday. “Once used, it will replace simple, repetitive jobs at the bank. By using artificial intelligence, employment at the banks will shrink over time,” he added.
Still in the Emirates and on a more practical day to day life, the State’s Federal Tax Authority recently announced that it will open online registration starting on September 17. 2017 for the upcoming excise tax on soft and energy drinks and tobacco products.
But despite all that, the latest study by citizenship planning firm Henley and Partners on Quality of Nationality Index (QNI) found that the UAE jumped up the global rankings for countries with the highest ‘quality of nationality’.
The index, which measures the quality of life and opportunities for personal growth within the country and the external value of nationality, found that the average value of GCC nationalities has improved from 35.05% in 2015 to 37.02% in 2016.
Ernst & Young Qatar (EY) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), two leading audit and consulting firms, have advised businesses to start planning in advance for VAT and Excise Duty in the GCC. Regional firms were advised to ensure systems are in place for the new taxes such as these but possibly for more to come, the consultancies have urged in a new report.
All GCC finance ministers sat at an extraordinary meeting on June 16 in Jeddah and approved in principle VAT and excise tax treaties for the first time ever. The agreement was upon the basic guidelines including the items that will be exempt from VAT such as food and healthcare.
This will definitely be detailed by a joint GCC committee’s recommendations by the end of summer and put for approval before by year end. The excise tax will therefore be collected as of January 1, 2017, while VAT is expected by January 1, 2018.
The implementation still more than 18 months away, businesses should already be planning for VAT’s impact on their operational models.
Although the general configuration of the new tax is already known, the final form of the VAT is still being developed. All GCC member countries should have VAT in place by the end of 2018, all local media reported.
In Qatar, a government report has warned of additional taxes, as a way to rein in some of the spending as well as prepare to run deficits for the next three years.
The Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics (MDPS) confirmed for the first time, that Qatar will introduce a 5% value-added tax (VAT) in 2018. Read below excerpts of the MDPS reproduced herewith.
During its semi-annual economic update, the MDPS stated that this was part of a GCC-wide agreement and warned that additional taxes – including on certain food and beverages will be imposed. Tobacco, fast foods and soft drinks and all consumables deemed harmful to an individual will not escape taxation. These measures are bound to impact the currently low level inflation.
This year’s budget deficit according to the BDPS could be more than the last December projected figure of QR46.5 billion and that despite government austerity that coupled with a slower than anticipated oil price recovery, have impelled the government to cut spending, have resulted in government-funded organisations expat employees redundancies.
Qatar budget should break even this year if oil prices reached $61.50 a barrel, but currently these are around $50 a barrel.
Qatar Economic Outlook 2016–2018 .
The Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics (MDPS) released on 19 June 2016, the Qatar Economic Outlook 2016-2018. While the Outlook sees real gross domestic product (GDP) growth strengthening in 2016, it anticipates a contraction in nominal income and a decline in the fiscal and current account surpluses. In 2016 real growth of 3.9% is expected, driven by gathering expansion of the non-hydrocarbon economy and a boost from the start-up of the Barzan gas project. However, real GDP growth is set to taper in 2017 and 2018 as activity in the non-hydrocarbon sector starts to moderate and the added production from Barzan falls out of the equation. With oil prices forecast to remain low in 2016, a reduction of 2.9% in nominal GDP is projected for 2016. In 2017 and 2018 nominal GDP is foreseen to resume growth at 9.0% and 9.1% respectively.
Inflation in 2016 is forecast to moderately pick up in 2016 to 3.4% following rapid acceleration observed in January–April. The recent hikes to petrol prices in January of this year, as well as the removal of water and electricity subsidies in late 2015, will push up domestic prices. A slight pick-up in global commodity prices, and an anticipated softening of the U.S. dollar (to which the Qatari riyal is pegged) will push imported inflation up further in 2017and 2018.
Given significantly lower oil prices and an erosion of hydrocarbon revenues, a fiscal deficit is projected for calendar year 2016, for the first time in 15 years, at just under 8% of nominal GDP. However, if the recent oil price rally persists, investment income will be shielded and the fiscal deficit be lower than anticipated. Breakeven oil prices for the fiscal balance are estimated at $61.5 per barrel for 2016, and above $65 for both 2017 and 2018.
Representatives to discuss tax on expat remittances . . .
Arab News 2016 reported that the Consultative (Shoura) Council of Saudi Arabia was expected to have a discussion last Sunday on a proposed tax on expatriate remittances. The proposal from the Council’s finance committee had been drafted by a member of the committee, according to the above mentioned local media. This comes in the wake of discussion in all GCC’s Expatriates Remittances Tax.
According to a Gulf Research Centre report released earlier this year, GCC countries are critical sources of global remittances, transferring billions of Dollars to mostly Asian countries.
The GCC countries were about 23% of the world’s $400 billion remittances in 2013 coming from the GCC region, representing nearly $90 billion, making Saudi Arabia the leading remitter not only in the GCC but also in the world.
This comes in the wake of discussions held in all GCC countries on this issue with some GCC countries are actively considering some taxation on expatriates remittances.
A GCC-wide VAT could be in place soon after the 6 countries have adopted a draft framework. In the meantime, the UAE has already announced a 5% VAT as of 2018 with other GCC countries following shortly.
In the wake of the global oil price fall, all GCC countries are experiencing a decline in state revenues that they are trying to mitigate through finding other sources of income.
This week, Saudi Arabia unveiled its ‘Vision 2030’ plan that includes exploring new revenue streams with a view to breaking its dependency on hydrocarbon semi-annuity type of economy. It is planning to adopt the path-breaking ‘Green Card’ but only in 5 years’ time.
Other topics that are being debated in Saudi Arabia include the annual performance reports of a number of government agencies. Also under discussion will be other topics that include topics on water, agriculture, and environment particularly concerning the new water and power tariff.
The council’s health committee’s report on regulations concerning pharmaceutical facilities, private health facilities, and health care professions were on the agenda with a particular look at those reports to be scrutinized as included in the Human Resources Development Fund submitted by the committee on management and human resources; the report of the committee on transportation, telecommunications, and information technology on the General Authority for Civil, and the committee on economy and energy report on the Ministry of Petroleum and Minerals. We shall report on the outcome as soon as it is available.