Abu Dhabi Dialogue addresses skill mobility between sending, receiving countries in line with future prospects of work


DUBAI: Preparations for the Seventh Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD) Ministerial Consultation started in Dubai on Saturday, 10 February 2024, as senior officials from the ministries of labour, human resources, and employment of 16 ADD member countries held eight working sessions attended by representatives of international organisations, the private sector and civil society, as well as experts and observers.

Abu Dhabi Dialogue, which is held as part of the World Governments Summit 2024 activities, is a voluntary consultative mechanism that aims to provide a public platform for dialogue on best practices between Asian labour sending and receiving countries in the Asia corridor, supporting bilateral and multilateral partnerships in the region and enhancing collaboration on labour market regulatory.

ADD also provides a platform for exchanging innovative initiatives to enhance workers’ wellbeing, ensure prosperity in the business community, and maximise benefits and advantages for ADD member countries’ economies that s
tem from the movement of individuals for employment within the Asia corridor.

The first working session, led by Professor Gibril Faal, Director of GK Partners and LSE Visiting Professor in practice, addressed the role of technology in reducing and resolving labour disputes, and the need to employ advanced technology to launch initiatives to regulate the labour market, reduce labour disputes, and reach quicker and easier solutions to settle them.

Meanwhile, the second working session featured Ahmed Alarabi, Deputy CEO of Operations and Services at the Labour Market Regulatory Authority in Bahrain, during which he discussed the importance of expanding the scope of wage protection systems in labour-receiving countries to include domestic workers. He said this falls under the role that technology plays in enhancing workers’ wellbeing, empowering countries to manage labour markets, and implementing the best available means to monitor key indicators regarding workers’ rights. The session also discussed availabl
e options for implementing technology in labour markets and its potential impact.

The third working session reviewed the need to promote safe and low-cost monetary transfers for workers from labour-sending countries, and the impact this has in terms of enhancing their wellbeing. Presented by Dilip Ratha, Lead Economist at the World Bank and Chair of the KNOMAD Thematic Group on Remittances, the session explored ways to enhance banking services and make them accessible to all categories of workers, including domestic workers.

On a related note, the fourth working session highlighted ways to use technology to improve workers’ access to health information, which effectively helps ensure their wellbeing and establish a safe work environment. Sulaiman Aldakheel, General Manager of the Gulf Health Council, spoke at the session, underlining the pioneering efforts and initiatives of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries as leading destinations for labour, and highlighting the pioneering steps the GCC has taken to
enhance workers’ protection, inform them of their rights in terms of health, and educate them about health and safety standards in the work environment.

Senior officials from the ministries of labour, human resources, and employment in Abu Dhabi Dialogue member countries convened in two of the working sessions and discussed ways for facilitating and enhancing skills mobility between labour sending and receiving countries in line with the future prospects of work.

The first session addressed key guidelines for building successful partnerships between countries to streamline skill transfer between sending and receiving countries, based on the evolving needs of labour markets and economic growth strategies in labour-receiving countries.

Jason Gagnon, Head of the Migration and Skills Unit at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), spoke at the session, highlighting the importance of developing the skills of workers in labour-sending countries, in line with the requirements and work e
nvironment in labour-receiving countries, in order to achieve balance and harmony between workers’ skills and labour market requirements, as well as to enhance the role that temporary workers play in accelerating economic growth and offering added value to labour-receiving markets.

Meanwhile, the second session, which featured Kishore Kumar Singh, Senior Skills Development Specialist at the Decent Work Technical Support Team of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Regional Office for Arab States, underlined the most effective ways to match labour mobility with the needs of the labour market. The session discussed the importance of matching migrant workers’ skills and experiences with labour market requirements and future economic development goals in labour-receiving countries, in order to ensure the success and sustainability of labour mobility. This, he said, allows workers to seize the greatest possible opportunities, where they develop their skills in their home countries based on the latest requi
rements and modern systems adopted by labour-receiving countries.

Two of the working sessions included meetings to discuss ways to integrate gender equality into the framework of employment policies of Abu Dhabi Dialogue member nations. The first session examined current and potential demand for employing female workers in the field of technology, as well as ways to facilitate access to tech-related sectors to enhance women’s participation in labour markets.

The session featured Dr. Jean D’Cunha, Senior Global Advisor on International Migration, Decent Work, and Entrepreneurship at UN Women, and discussed the need to enhance women’s participation and integration in the labour market considering the major technological developments, transforming various business sectors, which have led to a significant expansion in suitable jobs for female workers, reducing the number of highly intense, which are unsuitable for women.

The second session covered ways to better evaluate women’s employment, and strategies for
achieving equity and expanding women’s participation in labour markets, especially in the health sector. Speaker Tanja Dedovic, Senior Regional Thematic Specialist for Labour Mobility and Social Inclusion at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) explained the importance of women’s participation in the labour market, the major role they play, and the vast areas where they can excel.

Activities of the Seventh Abu Dhabi Dialogue Ministerial Consultation are scheduled to officially begin on Sunday, 11 February, where ministers of labour, human resources, and employment will discuss the outcomes of the working sessions held by senior officials to review recommendations and make appropriate decisions.

The UAE hosts the Permanent Secretariat of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, which was launched in 2008 as a forum for dialogue and cooperation between Asian labour sending and receiving countries.

Source: Emirates News Agency

MoF says OECD’s rating of Free Zone Corporate Tax regime will enhance UAE’s global competitiveness


ABU DHABI: The UAE Ministry of Finance (MoF) said the latest review by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on preferential tax regimes has officially recognised the United Arab Emirates Free Zone Corporate Tax (CT) regime as ‘non-harmful’, underscoring the UAE’s robust tax legislation and its alignment with international standards. The findings were disclosed in the results of the Forum on Harmful Tax Practices (FHTP) October 2023 meeting.

This rating is part of the OECD’s comprehensive review of 322 taxation regimes worldwide under the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project to date. According to the findings, the UAE’s Free Zone Corporate Tax regime was evaluated and confirmed to align with the global initiative to prevent tax avoidance and harmful tax practices.

Mohamed Hadi Al Hussaini, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, said, ‘The OECD rating of ‘non-harmful’ is a testament to the UAE’s commitment to transparency, non-harmful taxation, and the implementation
of best practices in tax policy. This new status marks a significant milestone in the UAE’s journey towards solidifying its position as a leading global hub for business and investment. It not only enhances our competitiveness on the global stage but also affirms the international community’s confidence in our corporate tax system and provides certainty to investors.’

Al Hussaini added, ‘Our adherence to international tax standards, coupled with the OECD’s recognition, reinforces our dedication to fostering a sustainable and dynamic economic environment. The Ministry of Finance remains dedicated to further refining our nation’s tax framework, ensuring it supports the country’s vision of economic diversification and development.’

The UAE introduced its nationwide corporate tax regime in 2023 as a strategic move designed to accelerate the UAE’s development and transformation, aligning with its long-term strategic objectives to diversify its economy.

The corporate tax was designed to cement the UAE’s position
as a leading global hub for business and investment, accelerate its development and transformation to achieve its strategic objectives, reaffirm its commitment to meeting international standards for tax transparency and preventing harmful tax practices. As per the Ministry of Finance, corporate tax rates are 0 percent for taxable income up to AED375,000 (approximately US$100,000) and 9 percent for taxable income above AED375,000.

Free zones are central to the UAE’s economic growth, attracting foreign direct investment as well as fostering a favourable business environment. The Free Zone Corporate Tax regime offers a zero per cent Corporate Tax rate for qualifying businesses and reflects the continued significant role of free zones in the UAE’s economic diversification strategies and commitment to align with international taxation standards.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Emirates Stallions Group announces record 316% growth in net profit to AED 687 million for 2023


ABU DHABI: Emirates Stallions Group (ADX: ESG), a subsidiary of International Holding Company (ADX: IHC), today announced a remarkable year-on-year net profit increase of 316%, reaching AED 687 million for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023. This significant financial achievement underscores the Group’s strategic acumen and operational excellence, marking a historic milestone in its growth trajectory.

In addition to its net profit, ESG – a provider of manpower supply, workers and staff accommodation solutions, as well as landscaping and agriculture, real estate development, engineering project management and associated services to construction, development and hospitality – reported a gross profit of AED 168 million, a 99% increase compared to the previous year, reflecting improved operational efficiencies and margin enhancement.

Despite a challenging market, the Group managed to elevate its revenue to AED 609 million, with a notable focus on high-value projects that contributed to the revenue stream,
showcasing a remarkable 70% year-on-year increase. The Group’s total assets witnessed an impressive surge, standing at AED 3.06 billion, a significant 168% growth compared to December 2022, underscoring the Group’s aggressive expansion and investment strategy.

Matar Suhail Ali Al Yabhouni Aldhaheri, Chairman of ESG, said: ‘Our remarkable journey in 2023, marked by a triplicate net profit surge, is a testament to ESG’s strategic foresight and operational excellence. This unprecedented growth reflects our commitment to optimizing operations and our relentless pursuit of excellence across all verticals. As we continue to explore new opportunities, particularly in our newly established sectors, we are poised to redefine industry standards and enhance our competitive edge. Our success is built on a foundation of innovation, resilience, and a deep understanding of the markets we serve.’

Kayed Ali Khorma, CEO of ESG, added: ‘The phenomenal growth we have achieved this year, particularly the expansion of our total
assets and equity, reflects the start of realization of our strategic approach to embracing new opportunities and optimizing our core operations. At ESG, we are not just focused on expanding our portfolio but are deeply committed to operational profitability within our existing as well as newly introduced verticals. Our strategy is to leverage our strengths, innovate continuously, and deliver superior value to our stakeholders. This approach has been instrumental in our ability to achieve such significant milestones.’

Highlighting the Group’s strong financial position and stakeholder confidence, ESG’s total equity jumped to AED 2.29 billion, marking a growth of 202% compared to December 2022. The company’s book value per share also saw a significant rise, reaching AED 9.1, a 202% increase year-on-year.

ESG has notably broadened its scope this year, entering new industries and reinforcing its market position. The company strategically acquired of a majority stake in United International Group (UIG), a leadin
g provider of manpower solutions with over 16 years of operations expertise. This move positions ESG as a leading manpower solutions company, aiming to deploy over 30,000 skilled professionals by the end of 2024, and serving various sectors.

Simultaneously, substantial acquisitions in key verticals aligned with ESG’s long-term strategy, reinforced its positions, and operations. This includes the acquisition of a 23.91% stake in Kezad Communities which expanded the company’s staff housing portfolio, and acquiring a 60% stake in AFKAR Financial and Property Investments, including brands like 2XL and OC home, consolidating ESG’s expansion in the real estate and retail sector. Furthermore, ESG Group launched its hospitality business arm, ESG Hospitality, in a strategic expansion to further cement its position in the hospitality sector.

Looking ahead, ESG remains committed to building on its current momentum, with a focus on sustainable growth, operational excellence, and strategic expansion to continue deliveri
ng exceptional value to both its shareholders and clients alike.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Public expenditure of Arab countries hit $957.5 billion in 2022: AMF


ABU DHABI: The Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) revealed that the total public expenditure of Arab countries combined jumped by 9.8% to $957.5 billion in 2022, compared to $878.9 billion in 2021.

AMF, in its Joint Arab Economic Report, explained that current expenditure in Arab countries increased by about 9.9% to reach $824.6 billion in 2022, compared to $750.7 billion in 2021, while the capital expenditures (CapEx) increased by about 3.6% to $132.5 billion.

The report indicated that the combined public budgets of Arab countries recorded a surplus of about $119.6 billion in 2022, compared to a deficit of $62.5 billion in 2021.

The report pointed out that the GDP of Arab countries at constant prices increased by about 6% in 2022, after reaching 3.6% in 2021, while it grew by 24.6% in 2022 at current prices compared to 2021.

According to the report, the average per capita GDP at current prices increased by about 22.1%, from about $6,993 in 2021 to $8,563 in 2022.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Al Khair Voluntary Award honours 55 volunteers in eighth edition


HATTA: Al Khair Voluntary Award honoured in its eighth awards ceremony today 55 volunteers at the Hatta Honey Bee Garden, Hatta, Dubai.

Engineer Sheikh Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Civil Aviation Department in Ras Al Khaimah, Chairman of Al Khair Voluntary Award, honoured the volunteers with certificates of recognition and appreciation.

The awards ceremony was attended by Firas Aziz bin Darwish, Deputy Chairman of Al Khair Voluntary Award, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohamed bin Salem Al Qassimi, and other officials.

Underscoring the importance and benefits of youth volunteering, Engineer Sheikh Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi emphasised how volunteering embodies social solidarity. He described humanitarian and volunteer work as one of the most distinguished and noble qualities that bring pride to societies.

Meanwhile, Firas Aziz Bin Darwish advocated for the immense importance of volunteering, highlighting its positive impact on individuals, families, society, and the economic, social, and development sph
eres. He emphasised that volunteering, in all its forms, acts as a cornerstone of societal well-being, stability, and happiness. He lauded it as a noble human value and one of the essential pillars for societal progress and development. Furthermore, he commended the leadership’s initiatives and embrace of volunteer work.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Seizure of more than 24,000 Tramadol pills in the border municipality of Amsaad.ZHO, Lotus Holistic Group partner to launch scientific journal on autism research

Benghazi: The Criminal Investigation Agency branch in the border municipality of Amsaad seized 24.743 Tramadol pills.

The agency’s communication office stated that the operation took place after information was received from the agency’s branch in Amsaad, indicating the presence of smuggled materials through the roads prepared for smuggling on the Libyan-Egyptian border, and among these materials were hallucinogenic pills called “Tramadol.”

The office added that the operation included assigning a search and investigation team in civilian clothing on the roads prepared for smuggling on the Libyan-Egyptian border and preparing an ambush for the smugglers who managed to escape towards the Egyptian border, leaving behind a shipment of hallucinogenic pills that the agency’s members seized and referred to the Public Prosecution

Source: Libyan News Agency

ABU DHABI: Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination (ZHO), a collaboration agreement was signed between ZHO and Lotus Holistic Group to launch the Arab world’s first peer-reviewed specialised scientific journal on autism research.

The agreement was signed by Abdulla Abdulalee Al Humaidan, Secretary-General of ZHO, and Amina Al Haidan, CEO of Lotus Holistic Group, in partnership with the Emirates Scholar Research Centre for Studies and Research.

The collaboration to launch the first peer-reviewed journal on autism represented a significant scientific step towards advancing research in this field, within the framework of enhancing academic research in the UAE.

Titled The International Journal of Autism Challenges and Solutions, the journal will be the first Arabic-English periodical in the Arab world, disseminating the latest contributions from specialised researchers globally in the field of autism.

The fir
st issue of the magazine will be launched on the sidelines of its eponymous event, Autism Challenges and Solutions, XII International Research and Practice Conference, to be hosted in Abu Dhabi from 27th-30th April 2024.

The objective of publishing the international, specialised journal on autism research is to provide the best therapeutic means and practices for individuals with autism, aiming to alleviate their challenges, empower them for societal integration, and raise public awareness. The journal sheds light on scientific responsibility, addressing the urgent need for a scholarly platform to tackle current challenges and disseminate research findings to practitioners in specialised centres.

The Secretary-General of ZHO welcomed the collaborative step to issue the scientific journal, considering it a positive development for the autism spectrum community. He said the journal is part of the strategic plan of ZHO focusing on early intervention and enhancing healthcare, aligning with the UAE’s leadership
in scientific advancements, particularly in sciences, health, space, and other fields.

Amina Al Haidan welcomed the agreement, and hoped the initiative marked the beginning of a new scientific era, contributing to the improvement of autism cases through the application of successful and tested scientific research to enhance their awareness and cognition in life.

Dr Abdulhamid Abdulhay, head of the conference’s media committee, and Dr. Afaf Al-Ansari, Editor-in-Chief of the Autism Challenges and Solutions journal, agreed that the issuance of the journal is an international research message aimed at achieving the goals of ZHO and Lotus Group.

Source: Emirates News Agency

China at the forefront after launching world’s first 6G test satellite


BEIJING: China Mobile, the world’s largest telecom carrier by mobile subscribers, has successfully launched the world’s first satellite to test 6G architecture, marking a milestone in its efforts to explore integrated space and ground communication technology.

According to China Daily’s report, the recent launch last week involved a significant milestone in satellite technology. The test satellite deployed in the low-earth orbit marked a groundbreaking achievement as it incorporated the innovative 6G design architecture. Additionally, another satellite accompanying it showcased China Mobile’s advanced 5G technology.

The 6G test satellite hosts a distributed autonomous architecture for 6G, which was jointly developed by China Mobile and the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Innovation Academy for Microsatellites. The system, utilising domestic software and hardware, supports in-orbit software reconstruction, flexible deployment of core network functions and automated management, enhancing the efficiency and relia
bility of the in-orbit operation of the satellite core network, China Mobile said.

Set at an orbit height of approximately 500 kilometres, these experimental satellites offer advantages such as low latency and high data transfer rates compared with high-orbit satellites which travel at 36,000 kilometres.

Positioned as a crucial platform for future integrated space and ground networks, low-earth orbit satellites can address telecom signal coverage gaps in terrestrial mobile networks, providing higher bandwidth satellite internet services globally, according to China Mobile.

China Mobile said it plans to conduct in-orbit experiments based on these test satellites, accelerating the integration and development of space-to-ground technology industries.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Ultra-deep well in Xinjiang becomes Asia’s deepest well


BEIJING: The Shendi Ta’Ke-1 well, China’s first borehole over 10,000 meters deep for scientific exploration, was drilled to a depth of 9,860 meters underground on Friday, setting a record as the deepest well in Asia.

With a design depth of 11,100 meters, the borehole is located in the hinterland of the Taklimakan Desert, the largest desert in China.

As per a report by China Central Television, the subterranean rock formations exhibit a complex structure, necessitating the drilling of the well through a total of 13 sets of formations spanning from the uppermost to the lowermost regions. The drilling process encounters a myriad of technical obstacles within the high-temperature setting below 10,000 meters, with the drilling tools being prone to significant softening akin to noodles. The successful construction of a well demands the navigation of multiple challenges of a technical nature, including excessively burdensome loads, extremely elevated temperatures, exceedingly high pressures, and exceptionally heig
htened geostress.

“For the first time in China, the Shendi Ta’Ke-1 used a 12,000-meter fully automated drilling rig with a lifting tonnage of 900 tons, a drill pipe with an ultra-high wall thickness and a tensile strength of 490 tons, and a drilling fluid that can withstand high temperatures up to 220 degrees Celsius. All these equipment fully support the drilling of the 10,000-meter well,” said Wang Chunsheng, chief technical expert of PetroChina Tarim Oilfield.

The Tarim Basin, where the Shendi Ta’Ke-1 well is located, is rich in ultra-deep oil and gas. The total oil and gas geological resources below 8,000 meters in the area exceed 9 billion tons of oil equivalent, accounting for more than half of China’s ultra-deep resources.

Source: Emirates News Agency