Business

Eudinson Uy and his pregnant wife planned to return to their home in the United Arab Emirates after a vacation in Armenia, but due to a subsequent lockdown of the Gulf country over the coronavirus pandemic, she ended up giving birth there.

Four months later, the Filipino couple and their baby boy are still stuck in Armenia, like thousands of others now trying to return to the UAE, which relies on a vast foreign workforce.

“I have called the UAE Embassy here in Armenia, immigration in Dubai, and all the hotlines and emergency hotlines given by the UAE, but all of them said they cannot help us even if my wife is pregnant,” Uy said.

Before the lockdown, foreign workers who had planned work trips or holidays, or to give birth near family back home, flew out of the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven emirates home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai. They left behind jobs, families, homes and other responsibilities, to which they had always planned to return.

On July 7, Dubai reopened to tourists. The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship has meanwhile launched efforts to return an estimated 200,000 people to the UAE, but the rules remain unclear and many have had their applications rejected.

 
Eudinson Uy, right, poses for a photograph with his wife, Allaina Pelayo, and their infant son Benjamin Timoteo, in Yerevan, Armenia. They are among the hundreds of thousands of foreign residents of the UAE who now are stuck abroad. — AP

 

Some members of a Facebook group for foreign workers stranded outside said they applied and got rejected over 10 times. One woman said she applied 21 times.

The rules remain particularly unclear when it comes to newborns. Many new mothers who traveled outside the Emirates to give birth found themselves unable to bring back their children. All UAE residents — including children — require a national ID number to return.

The Emirati government does not issue newborns a national ID until they have a residency visa. But many parents could not get their children visas because Emirati embassies abroad were closed due to the pandemic.

“It’s like a Catch-22,” said Minna Joseph, who has been in Canada since February. “A lot of mothers just have no idea how to bring back their babies.”

Joseph was planning on returning in March but is currently in Vancouver, waiting to bring her newborn son back.

Dubai opening to tourists helped some return, as Westerners and those from the Gulf Cooperation Council states get visas on arrival in the UAE. But others, including those from the Asian nations that supply the Emirates its army of labourers, cleaners, taxi drivers and office workers, need a visa issued beforehand.

Dubai also instituted a new system that links newborn babies to their mothers’ IDs. But the UAE’s six other emirates all have their own immigration rules. Abu Dhabi, for instance, still has its border closed off to the other emirates, requiring a recent negative Covid-19 test before allowing people in.

When the UAE shut down air travel in March, Emirati citizens abroad were able to come back home, but the foreign workers found it much harder. The government made only occasional exceptions for emergencies and humanitarian cases.

“We felt discouraged about what they told us; that they cannot help us even if my wife is pregnant,” Uy said. “We really felt sad seeing that they have repatriated to UAE some people who are not even in an emergency case, like my wife.”

Foreign medical workers have been on the front lines of treating Covid-19 patients in the Emirates, which has reported nearly 55,000 cases and at least 333 deaths since the outbreak began.

At one point, the government released a 

 of Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, saying he “teared up” while watching residents singing the UAE national anthem and commended their loyalty.

Many of those stuck outside the country feel their loyalty has not been rewarded.

They include Iqra Kamran, a 25-year-old who recently gave birth to her daughter in Karachi, Pakistan. She and her husband were separated for months after he was allowed to return to their home in the UAE. She was not able to join him with their child until Dubai introduced its new system at the end of June.

“My husband is living in UAE and serving UAE for I think eight years or nine years,” she said. “So they should favour us.”

Officials in Dubai and at the federal level in Abu Dhabi did not respond to requests for comment.

While countries around the world took unprecedented measures in the wake of the pandemic, shutting their borders to travelers, many have since allowed their residents back.

Joseph is still waiting for that chance in Canada with her newborn and her four-year-old daughter Kataleia. Her husband, Stefan, in Dubai, tries to be part of their lives, despite the 11-hour time difference.

“You know it’s really sad. It’s really difficult,” she said. “Thank God for video calls, it’s really great. Stef gets to read Kiki a story every night.”

 

Alongside its first e-stroller, CYBEX unveils charismatic and top performance baby gear for contemporary Middle East lifestyle

 

Abu Dhabi, 14th July 2020: CYBEX has launched its new e-PRIAM, which features ground-breaking technologies and innovative designs. The new contemporary stroller is targeted towards style-conscious Middle East consumers, with a clear focus on Millennials e-generation. Active parents in the region are entering smart parenting with products whose core purpose is to offer technology attributes that reflect their contemporary lifestyle without compromising functionality. The advanced e-PRIAM stroller developed by CYBEX answers their expectations with substance.

 

PRIAM travel philosophy: The e-PRIAM utilizes smart technology to easily adapt to gliding up and down slopes and to rough surfaces like sand, gravel or cobblestones – ideal for all manner of terrains. The advanced e-PRIAM electronic stroller has smooth visual aesthetics and is tailor-made to cope with the challenges of parental active life, the smart technology ensures that baby travels in style while making every ride that much safer, with parents keeping their energy and enjoying travelling comfort. Combining the luxurious aspects of its seat unit and chassis with the convenience of the electric motor ranks e-PRIAM as a world class piece of parenting equipment perfectly suiting today’s urban lifestyle.

 

As the first CYBEX e-stroller, e-Priam encapsulates all of the brand philosophy to create charismatic and contemporary lifestyle products that prioritise functionality. Technical innovations guarantee the highest safety standards and intuitive handling. E-Priam reflects and reinforces CYBEX’s positioning as both a leader in child safety and an innovative lifestyle and fashion brand for parents. With e-Priam CYBEX brought innovative and intelligent technology to the stroller market and create a flagship model that presents itself as an iconic access code to explore the  brand.”

Engineering drives best-in-class quality and meets the highest of parenting demands: CYBEX is recognized as a leader in car seat technology offering a full line of child seats including its Z-LINE products and its  flagship model, the e-Priam. German Engineered CYBEX products provide strollers with clear competitive attributes. The electric motor and sensors are discretely incorporated in the PRIAM frame and all technical elements are fully integrated.

Design, Safety, Functionality are CYBEX DNA. A fine-tuned combination of unique design, maximum safety, and intelligent functionality. This is illustrated by CYBEX’s Platinum line rated first in many respects especially in regard to safety grades and user-friendly handling. CYBEX sets new standards in child safety and presents a track record of approximately 400 awards that highlight achievements and proven technical records in product development. Recently the child car seats of the Z-LINE has been awarded with the best grade from both the Stiftung Warentest, the most important consumer test institute in Germany and ADAC for the Best in Class Car Seats with exclusive first-ever side impact certification and energy- absorbing shell. CYBEX strollers are produced by most modern manufacturing technologies and certified assurance. Quality engineers monitor and check production to last details and every single material being used has passed extensive test procedures.

High-end style and performance: Personalization is now the norm for exclusive brands, CYBEX’s collections deploy the concept with subtlety. Taking a flower in full bloom as a symbol of feminine strength, the SPRING BLOSSOM collection illustrates this approach with unparalleled touch of sophistication and elegance. The CYBEX for Scuderia Ferrari Collection is a testament to the Italian brand legacy capturing its rich heritage of excellence, uniqueness, and high performance, all are common values shared by CYBEX and reflected through its model line-up. As CYBEX stands for, modern parents are inspired by a genuine passion for excellence and exclusivity.

 

e-Priam technical specifications:

(to be added as a separate document)

 

About CYBEX

Established in 2005, the German company CYBEX is globally recognized for the iconic design, innovative technology, easy functionality, and superior safety features on all its products for stylish adults embarking on parenthood. 

In early 2014, CYBEX joined Goodbaby International Holding Limited. The group is one of the world’s leading enterprises for the development and production of child and teen goods. 

Find more information at www.Cybex-online.com.

United Arab Emirates: July 14, 2020: Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, the capital’s first low-cost carrier, today marked the inauguration of its operations with its first flight to Alexandria in Egypt. A second Air Arabia Abu Dhabi flight will operate from the UAE’s capital to the Nile city of Sohag on July 15.

The launch ceremony was attended by senior leadership teams of Etihad Aviation Group, Abu Dhabi Airports Company, Air Arabia, Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi among other guests. 

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “We are proud to launch Air Arabia Abu Dhabi operations today with the first flight to Alexandria. This joint venture between Etihad and Air Arabia will offer the nation’s citizens and residents a great new option for air travel from the UAE’s vibrant capital city. We look forward to expanding our codeshare partnership to provide more connections to and from Etihad’s global network onto Air Arabia Abu Dhabi’s growing list of destinations”

Shareef Hashim Al Hashmi, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “We are pleased to witness Air Arabia Abu Dhabi’s first flight and commencement of operations as the UAE capital’s first low-cost carrier. Abu Dhabi International Airport, with its innovative health and safety technology, is well positioned to cater to the emirate’s growing aviation and tourism industries including the increasingly popular low-cost air travel sector. We are looking forward to introducing passengers travelling aboard Air Arabia Abu Dhabi to our own unique brand of Arabian hospitality and a seamless travel experience.”

Adel Al Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia, said: “We are delighted for the launch of Air Arabia Abu Dhabi’s first flight and we thank all partners who supported us in achieving today’s milestone. We look forward to expanding Air Arabia Abu Dhabi’s destination network as more airports open up while providing our customers with a new value-for-money option to travel from and into the capital.”

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi has started its operations with two Airbus A320 aircraft based at Abu Dhabi International Airport, offering the same value-for-money product and services provided by Sharjah-based Air Arabia.

Customers can now book their direct flights between Abu Dhabi and Egypt by visiting Air Arabia’s website, by calling the call centre or through travel agencies.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi was formed following an agreement by Etihad Airways and Air Arabia to establish an independent joint venture company that will operate as a low-cost passenger airline with Abu Dhabi International Airport as its hub. The capital’s first low-cost carrier follows the business model of Air Arabia and complements the services of Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi thereby catering to the growing low-cost travel market segment in the region.

Schedule to Alexandria, effective 14 July to 24 October 2020 (all times local)

Flight

Departure

Time

Arrival

Time

Aircraft

Frequency

3L  401

Abu Dhabi

15:00

Alexandria

16:55

Airbus A320

Tue/Thu/Sat

3L  402

Alexandria

17:35

Abu Dhabi

23:25

Airbus A320

Tue/Thu/Sat

 

Schedule to Sohag, effective 15 July to 21 October 2020 (all times local)

Flight

Departure

Time

Arrival

Time

Aircraft

Frequency

3L  413

Abu Dhabi

14:20

Sohag

16:00

Airbus A320

Wed

3L  414

Sohag

16:40

Abu Dhabi

22:10

Airbus A320

Wed

Update brought to you by MEMS – A Choueiri Group Brand

 

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – April 13, 2020—(AETOSWire):

 

In this fifth installment of our series on the unprecedented Covid-19 situation and its impact on TV Advertising, we examine data findings from Saudi Arabia & UAE complied over the last 2 weeks of March compared to the same period in February 2020. These depict how TV viewership, as well as the time spent on TV entertainment have significantly increased for Arab audiences across both Dubai TV and Dubai ONE

                                                                                                                                                                                

About MEMS:

Owned  by Choueiri  Group, MEMS FZLLC specializes in the marketing and sales of advertising space for a diversified portfolio of communication vehicles. These include leading satellite TV channels, magazine titles, newspapers and outdoor signs. With a dedicated  team of 80 professionals, the Company services its clients through a network of offices and representatives in 12 cities with a focus on GCC countries.

 

*Source: AETOSWire

 

The Foundation’s research arm, Dubai Future Research, and its lineup of reports offer crucial insights for shaping a better future after the global outbreak, for the UAE and the world

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 13 April 2020—(AETOSWire):  Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) has stepped up its efforts in responding to the global COVID-19 crisis by furthering research for the benefit of society. The Foundation’s research arm, Dubai Future Research, has launched a series of reports titled  ‘Life after COVID-19’  that focuses on the most important areas of people’s lives and enables them to identify the opportunities that lie ahead, while setting out some short and longer-term implications.

In just over three months, the number of cases of the novel coronavirus has soared to more than a million worldwide and as the pandemic continues to unfold, the UAE Government has put in place a series of measures designed to reduce and contain it from spreading further.

The Foundation, in its commitment to support the UAE’s efforts to combat COVID-19, has made a decision to deliver reports and analysis of the disruption caused by the virus and offer insights about the future of key sectors, including workspace, education and commerce. Additionally, the entity aims to ensure that organizations, government officials and members of community have access to this important resource to better anticipate, navigate and proactively react towards the future.

COVID-19 presents an opportunity for governments in the Arab World and across the globe to disrupt and accelerate its efforts in providing suitable regulations, guidelines and platforms to adapt to the foreseen changes. The reports, in addition to aiding the UAE Government with suggestions and implementation of certain regulations and policies, will also provide both short- and long-term solutions that can be adopted by public and private sector organizations in Dubai and the world.

The series of research papers will continue to be issued at regular intervals until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. Accompanying these insights, DFF will create platforms and online discussions to provide more insights and opportunities to interact with experts. For more information about Dubai Future Research and reports on Life after COVID-19, please visit the Foundation’s website at https://www.dubaifuture.gov.ae/publications/.

*Source: AETOSWire

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, April 12, 2020-(AETOSWire):

 In this fifth installment of our series on the unprecedented Covid-19 situation and its impact on TV Advertising, we examine data findings from the UAE complied over the last 2 weeks of March compared to the same period in February 2020. These depict how the ever-increasing appetite for MBC Groups’ entertainment content across all of its channels, has led to substantial increases in both the broadcaster’s Reach and Share of Audience figures during the period under review.

 

Arabian Media Services International (AMSI) is a part of Choueiri Group and operates as the Exclusive Media Representative for MBC Group.

*Source: AETOSWire

THIS is an unprecedented situation globally. Like many others, Corporate Pakistan did not get it. Not yet at least, their behaviour indicates. Applying a conventional approach, fixated on the bottom line, it is again attempting to socialise risks and losses by asking the government for bailing it out.

How long it will take the business community to digest the enormity of the challenge, shake off its habit of leaning on the government and adjust its strategy to the new reality is hard to predict. The pandemic, global news testifies, is not classist. It infected and marooned the symbols of wealth and power as much as the wretched of the world. Whether we swim or sink will depend, to a great extent, on the quality of our response individually and collectively.

The business community of Pakistan has weathered a lot in this crisis-prone country and did manage to succeed. It has experience and is resourceful. Its stakes are high as it has more to lose than others. The pandemic has put to test, like never before, its wisdom and animal skill to work through the odds.

The overwhelmed government has responded compassionately to the business community’s demands, promising moon and committing packages, tax breaks and concessions at a time when its own budget is in tremendous stress and even the routine inflows are threatened. The donors’ money can provide some relief, but how much and for how long is hard to predict in these tumultuous times.

Corporate Pakistan is not only demanding relief but also making a case for altering the tax structure to the benefit of the most resourceful segment of society

The Pakistan Business Council (PBC), the most vocal and well-equipped platform, worked out a well-worded wish list to shield its members from the fallouts of local and global lockdowns. In a letter addressed to the finance minister that it shared with the media, it outlined high points of a relief package “to sustain employment and preserve ability to swiftly commence operations when circumstances permit”.

It admitted that it is the responsibility of companies to keep regular workers on the payrolls. There is no mention of millions of contractual workers who have been laid off. The PBC acknowledged the government’s predicament in the current trying times. This did not, however, stop it from asking for a deferral of tax payments and other levies (EOBI, WWF/WPPF contributions) citing disruptions in cash flows and the need to retain solvency.

It wanted output sales tax and excise duties for February and March be paid in instalments, 100pc input adjustment to sales tax, writing off three per cent additional sales tax at the import stage, turnover tax slashed to zero from current 1.5pc, suspension of all advance taxes, immediate release of income/sales tax refunds, restoration of Section 65 B, tax credits to firms sustaining workers, tax rebate of 50pc to the earners of Rs1.8m per annum and reduction of corporate and property taxes by 5pc and 50pc, and the withdrawal of Sindh Infrastructure Development Cess among other things.

Claiming to be pragmatic, in essence they not only demanded relief but also made a case for altering the tax structure to the benefit of the most resourceful segment in a country where the tax structure is already skewed towards indirect taxes. PBC CEO Ehsan Malik responded thus to Dawn’s queries.

“At a time when cash flow is under extreme pressure, 80pc of the relief sought is temporary deferrals and one-off remissions. The emphasis is on sustaining employment,” he said.

“The window for unconventional demands doesn’t exist. Our government has limited capacity to match what other countries have done to assist business. Hence, we have taken a pragmatic approach. Sustain the present whilst the government negotiates a more plausible set of targets with the IMF. Fortunately, the IMF is open to help,” he added.

An incorrigible optimist, premier’s adviser on commerce and industry Abdul Razak Dawood talked to Dawn in between countless meetings in Islamabad. He said he was in constant touch with business leaders, adding that he enjoys a personal relationship with many of them because of his long career in the corporate sector. “Every morning I hold a video conference with the leaders of business chambers and trade bodies from around the country to listen to their problems and enrich my own understanding for a more informed input in official huddles for their benefit. The government is keen to do all in its power as it understands the value of the sector for the economy and the country,” he said over the phone.

“Things have started moving,” he said, probably referring to the tax refund distribution and multiple packages announced by the prime minister and the finance minister to calm the anxious business community. He promised a written detailed response that did not reach within the deadline.

The experience of the last one month amply demonstrated how the pandemic shook the world, tearing the order at its very seams. The future continues to be uncertain as the collective wisdom is currently being applied to contain the outbreak and sustain people under the lockdown.

Attempts to reach Anjum Nisar, president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, did not succeed. The Overseas Chamber of Commerce and Industry Secretary General M Abdul Aleem defended the private sector’s position. “All governments, including that of the United States, are bailing out private companies. Else they will be forced to lay off, default and cause systemic risk,” he wrote back.

Majyd Aziz, president of the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan, has self-quarantined because of his interaction with PPP leader Saeed Ghani before he was tested positive for the coronavirus. He said the private sector currently finds itself trapped between a rock and a hard place. “The panic motivated business leaders to scale up their usual demands for relief, relief and more relief. Their demands are the same: quick disbursement of refunds, reduction in the markup rate and deferral of payments to the FBR, utilities, etc. However, for probably the first time, they also voiced their concern for wages and salaries,” he said.

“There is no unity in business leadership that seldom sits on the same side of the table. Each body is focused on issues. This is a time to realise that the treasury is under severe pressure as the FBR continues to miss monthly collection targets, political instability looms and uncertainty continues,” he added.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan is on TV every other day announcing relief for one sector after another. I have only heard business leaders demanding more but they rarely offer support in hard times. If exporters are getting refunds, shouldn’t a percentage be donated for relief?” he asked.

He said the business community should volunteer to help the government in the current crisis and “wait for the dark clouds to lift before asking for deliverance for selves”.

“We will swim or sink together,” another business leader critical of what he called the inward-looking mindset of the business community commented.

“The pandemic is testing the government and its structures. There is a possibility of its crumbling down under its own weight. Where are thought leaders and economists? Why have they gone underground? This is the time when we would like to hear from them,” he added, requesting anonymity.

“Despite all the hype about the dynamism of the market and its futuristic driver i.e. the private sector, it cranked at the first major jolt. Governments with all their flaws are functional and trying solutions. Some work some don’t, but they are at it,” another champion of lean, clean, effective and strong government argued.

“How come the booming drug industry of Pakistan is nowhere to be seen in the health crisis? They have sufficient cash to throw around for advertisement and image-building social exercises, but see no role for themselves in the provision of necessary basic medical supplies and testing kits in the current emergency,” he added.

own understanding for a more informed input in official huddles for their benefit. The government is keen to do all in its power as it understands the value of the sector for the economy and the country,” he said over the phone.

“Things have started moving,” he said, probably referring to the tax refund distribution and multiple packages announced by the prime minister and the finance minister to calm the anxious business community. He promised a written detailed response that did not reach within the deadline.

The experience of the last one month amply demonstrated how the pandemic shook the world, tearing the order at its very seams. The future continues to be uncertain as the collective wisdom is currently being applied to contain the outbreak and sustain people under the lockdown.

Attempts to reach Anjum Nisar, president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, did not succeed. The Overseas Chamber of Commerce and Industry Secretary General M Abdul Aleem defended the private sector’s position. “All governments, including that of the United States, are bailing out private companies. Else they will be forced to lay off, default and cause systemic risk,” he wrote back.

Majyd Aziz, president of the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan, has self-quarantined because of his interaction with PPP leader Saeed Ghani before he was tested positive for the coronavirus. He said the private sector currently finds itself trapped between a rock and a hard place. “The panic motivated business leaders to scale up their usual demands for relief, relief and more relief. Their demands are the same: quick disbursement of refunds, reduction in the markup rate and deferral of payments to the FBR, utilities, etc. However, for probably the first time, they also voiced their concern for wages and salaries,” he said.

“There is no unity in business leadership that seldom sits on the same side of the table. Each body is focused on issues. This is a time to realise that the treasury is under severe pressure as the FBR continues to miss monthly collection targets, political instability looms and uncertainty continues,” he added.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan is on TV every other day announcing relief for one sector after another. I have only heard business leaders demanding more but they rarely offer support in hard times. If exporters are getting refunds, shouldn’t a percentage be donated for relief?” he asked.

He said the business community should volunteer to help the government in the current crisis and “wait for the dark clouds to lift before asking for deliverance for selves”.

“We will swim or sink together,” another business leader critical of what he called the inward-looking mindset of the business community commented.

“The pandemic is testing the government and its structures. There is a possibility of its crumbling down under its own weight. Where are thought leaders and economists? Why have they gone underground? This is the time when we would like to hear from them,” he added, requesting anonymity.

“Despite all the hype about the dynamism of the market and its futuristic driver i.e. the private sector, it cranked at the first major jolt. Governments with all their flaws are functional and trying solutions. Some work some don’t, but they are at it,” another champion of lean, clean, effective and strong government argued.

“How come the booming drug industry of Pakistan is nowhere to be seen in the health crisis? They have sufficient cash to throw around for advertisement and image-building social exercises, but see no role for themselves in the provision of necessary basic medical supplies and testing kits in the current emergency,” he added.

Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, April 6th, 2020

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