NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
Indian mutton to be back in market by next week
DUBAI — Feb. 13:Indian mutton is likely to be back in the shops and supermarkets in the Emirates, latest by next week. However, some supermarket managers and Indian mutton importers caution it may cost a trifle more than previously, at least initially.
A local importer of Indian mutton clarified that although the Indian government’s restrictions on mutton exports are still there, they are likely to be lifted within the next couple of days.
He also explained, “these restrictions came into effect last August, following advice from the World Organisation for Animal Health and as a precautionary measure against foot-and-mouth disease.”
Indian mutton, he added, is quite popular here and its long absence from the UAE market “had boosted the sale of Pakistani mutton. And that, at a premium price. But now with the expected re-entry of Indian mutton, the price of Pakistani meat is likely to drop and stabilise at previous levels. But it may take a while.”
According to available figures, UAE imports on an average of 2,500 tonnes of frozen and chilled meat and meat products every month.
Sources add that around 14 tonnes of meat was earlier being imported daily from India, Somalia and Pakistan. Of this, around 10 tonnes of meat was being sourced from India alone.
Abdul Salim, general manager of the Abu Dhabi-based M.K Group, one of the biggest importers of Indian mutton in the UAE said, “Indian mutton consignments have yet to start arriving. But according to our sources in New Delhi, we expect it to be on the racks by the end of this week as soon as the mutton export restrictions have been lifted.”
The retail price of Indian mutton was being quoted at between Dh17 to Dh20 per kg earlier — much lower than Australian or Somali mutton in the market. Pakistani mutton, following the ‘ban’ on Indian mutton exports shot up from Dh20 to Dh25 per kg.
Meanwhile, Hisham Kamal, an official in the butchery section at Lulu Supermarket, said “Some importers we are told have already brought Indian meat samples. But the full flow of Indian meat supplies is expected to begin only next week.” Spinney’s and Carrefour supermarket staff opined the same.
Online labour cards launched
ABU DHABI — Feb. 13: The Ministry of Labour (MoL) is trying out a new system in some companies in Abu Dhabi and Dubai that will enable the firms to apply for labour cards for people arriving in the country for the first time online, according to Ahmed Kajour, Under-Secretary at the MoL.
Monthly payment scheme for taxi owners announced
ABU DHABI — Feb. 13:Abu Dhabi’s taxi and hire car regulator, in partnership with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), is delivering on its promise of compensating current taxi owners fairly, as part of its initiative to transform the Emirate’s transportation sector.
According to the Decree No. 19 issued in 2006, the launch of an innovative financial vehicle, called the Compensation Fund, will ensure regular monthly payments to licence owners, with the introduction of the new taxi system in the second half of 2007.
Following a competitive tender for all national banks in Abu Dhabi, NBAD has been appointed by the regulator as financial advisor, fund manager and custodian for the compensation scheme.
Starting from the third quarter of this year, taxi owners will receive a certificate entitling them to a monthly income of Dh1,000 after they hand in their licence at the Department of Vehicles Registration and Licencing during the phase-out periods.
The certificate, known as a beneficiary certificate, will be valid for 25 years and entitles the owner to an income that is similar to the one of operating a taxi.
“As we switch to a modern, safe and cost-effective taxi system, taxi owners will benefit from fair, regular and customer-friendly monthly payments without the hassle of running a taxi operation. Together with NBAD, we have structured a state-of-the-art compensation fund that ensures long-term security, flexibility and peace of mind for current taxi owners,” Khaled Saleh Al Rashedi, General Manager of Taxi and Hire Car Regulation Centre (formerly the Taxi Transport Regulation Centre), said at a Press conference yesterday.
“While the fund is sophisticated, it will be easy for taxi owners to take advantage of the benefits once their licences are handed over. We’ll introduce dedicated NBAD ATM cards and various NBAD banking services to enable collection of monthly payments from the NBAD’s largest ATM network in the UAE. We’ll also provide a full range of money transfer options,” said Rashedi, adding that the full details of the payment scheme would be announced in the coming months.
Rashedi stressed that the process of the selection of the franchise companies had not yet been completed. “Some companies are giving an impression in the media that they will be operating taxi service in Abu Dhabi, which is absolutely wrong since no decision has been taken in this regard so far,” he pointed out.
He said the companies would be allowed to operate any brand of car that carried four to five passengers, while 7-seater taxis would be introduced later.
Stuart Henrickson, Head of Corporate Finance, NBAD, explained, “The scheme puts the needs of taxi owners first and foremost. An investment fund will be set up and maintained by NBAD, driven by the strategy to invest in low risk and capital guaranteed investments. For taxi owners, monthly payments will be made through a simple, safe and secure NBAD process that can be tailored to individual needs.”
Beneficiary certificates issued through the Taxi and Hire Car Regulation Centre to licence owners will provide holders with a high level of liquidity. These certificates are tradable on an individual basis between UAE nationals and are not open to trade with corporations. All transactions will be supervised by the Taxi and Hire Car Regulation Centre and NBAD.
New fare structure at Dh 2.60
ABU DHABI — Khaled Saleh Al Rashedi, General Manager of Abu Dhabi’s Taxi and Hire Car Regulation Centre, yesterday announced the new fare structure. The new fares will come into effect from the third quarter of 2007 for all standard taxis operating within the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Al Rashedi announced at a Press conference that the starting fare will be Dh2.60 for a standard taxi, with each additional km charged at 65 fils.
He said the taxis would display a detailed fare structure for the convenience of passengers.
The passengers will be expected to pay waiting charges where applicable. A taxi call service will also be introduced at an extra charge, he said.
Etisalat’s BlackBerry Internet service
ABU DHABI — Feb. 13: etisalat yesterday announced that BlackBerry Pearl, the latest Blackberry device, will be exclusively available at 15 Etisalat Business Centres located across the UAE. The BlackBerry Pearl handset is priced at Dh2,200.
The company also announced the launch of BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) for individual customers.
The BlackBerry Internet Edition packages are priced at Dh185 (domestic unlimited) and Dh295 per month (global unlimited).
BIS is available to all Etisalat GSM postpaid customers having a BlackBerry handset by sending ‘r bis185’ or ‘r bis295’ as SMS to 1010. BlackBerry Pearl is one of the world’s smallest smart phones. It has a sleek and stylish design and comes complete with a digital camera with built-in flash and 5x digital zoom, multimedia capabilities, and 64 MB of expandable memory via microSD card. The Pearl device also supports email, web browser, local maps, instant messaging, text messaging (SMS and MMS), organiser applications and more.
The BlackBerry Pearl provides Quad-Band network support on 850/900/1800/1900 MHz GSM/GPRS and EDGE networks to allow for international roaming globally, including North America.
The Dh185 flat monthly fee includes web browsing on the Blackberry device, instant messaging and email. For consumers who travel abroad regularly, Etisalat offers an extended service at Dh295.
The BIS enables users to access up to 10 personal email accounts (EIM, Hotmail, AOL, Gmail, Yahoo and others) from a single device. With this service, adding new email accounts is quick and easy, and users can select unique “sent from” addresses, auto-signatures, filters and friendly names.
Labour law draft in English
ABU DHABI — Feb. 13: Minister of Labour Dr Ali bin Abdullah Al Kaabi has said the draft of the proposed labour law will be published in English on the web site, www.uaelabourlaw.net, next week. The web site will help labourers and employers get acquainted with the draft and post their notes and suggestions on the draft’s articles within the next couple of months.
DUBAI - The price of adultery
Dubai - Feb. 13: A wife and her lover have been sentenced to one year in jail followed by deportation for illegally having an affair, the Court of First Instance has ruled. The 39-year-old Filipina, a secretary, was married to a UAE policeman, the court heard. After repeated arguments, the woman, identified only as LM, left her husband taking their baby.
While visiting his child, the husband discovered a Pakistani salesman sleeping in his wife’s bedroom wearing just his underwear. When questioned about the alleged affair, the Pakistani said he was just delivering the married woman some asthma medicine and denied the charges of adultery against them both.