UAE Updates

The new excise tax, the use of solar panels and more in this week's UAE updates.

Oct 08, 2017

UAE UpdatesIllustration by Joaquín Kunkel

Confusion Over Excise Tax

On Oct. 1, a new excise tax was introduced that permanently increased the prices of soft drinks and cigarettes by 50 percent and 100 percent respectively. As reported by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, the move is a way to “discourage the consumption of products that negatively impact the environment and, more importantly, people’s health.”

Although the change was intended for all tobacco vendors in the UAE, there remains a lot of confusion over what should be taxed. Rayaz Ahmad, the marketing manager of Abu Mohammed Smoking Accessories, said of dokha that, “We are still waiting for some kind of information from the government to know whether the tax has been implemented on our product or not.”

Dokha is an arabian tobacco blend consisting of shredded tobacco mixed with herbs. Only one brand of dokha, Scorpion, appears to be on the list of products to be affected by the excise tax. However, there are many other dokha brands in the UAE, which have not yet increased their prices.

Dewa Moves Toward Solar Energy

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) recently launched a project to install solar carports at the headquarters of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment building. This move is part of the Shams Dubai Initiative, which aims to connect solar energy to buildings. The photovoltaic panels are expected to generate electricity by giving cover to approximately 900 parking spaces. Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, CEO of Dewa, commented that the project is “part of our efforts to encourage the public to benefit from Shams Dubai.”

The goal shared by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is to have seven percent of Dubai’s energy coming from clean energy sources by 2020 and 75 percent by 2050.

GITEX Technology Week

From Oct. 8 to Oct. 12, Dubai will host the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition. The exhibition first launched in 1981 with the purpose of being a trade show for electronics. This year’s edition will take place in Dubai Financial Center and is expecting thousands of technology experts to fly in from all over the world.

The event is open to the public and will display some of the newest innovations in the technological world, such as flying taxis and new mobile wallet services. Tickets are available on Gitex’s official website at prices from 125 AED for the one-day pass to 265 AED for the five-day pass. Visitors will also be able to purchase tickets at the door but the prices will be higher: 160 AED for the one-day pass and 315 AED for the five-day pass.

Andrea Arletti is Deputy News Editor. Email him at [email protected]

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