Gulf in the News – October 9, 2013

UAE donates Dh5.83b in aid to 137 countries

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

The UAE was ranked sixth among the biggest donors in 2012.  “The UAE does not provide conditional aid or wait for a return, as the motivating stimulus to provide humanitarian aid is its strong keenness to contribute to achieving stability and providing a dignified life for all peoples, regardless of their race or religion,” Shaikh Mohammed said.  Speaking about the report, Shaikha Lubna said, “The report gives detailed data on UAE grants and loans provided by 43 donors, charitable and humanitarian organisations, including 22 Emirati government entities.”  Similar to previous years, the UAE government was the largest foreign aid donor giving Dh2.62 billion ($712.2 million), which accounts for nearly 45 per cent of the country’s total foreign assistance.  “President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is a pioneer in humanitarian work without peer in the country, as aid provided by him alone stood the highest among all government or private institutions in the country,” commended Shaikh Mohammed.

Ministry crackdown helps curb labour law violations

Source: Times of Oman (Read full story)


In a move to streamline the expatriate manpower employment and recruitment, the Ministry of Manpower has announced  that companies employing expatriate manpower but violating the Labour Law will face strict action.  According to the Ministry of Manpower, companies employing expatriate manpower and found violating the Labour Law and Ministerial Decrees would face stringent measures as stated in Article 114 of the Labour Law.   The Article 114 states that fines will be imposed on violators — expatriates violating the law would be deported and the companies found in violation would be banned from hiring expatriate manpower for one year.

New Kuwait finance minister slams bloated administration and red tape

Source: Gulf Times (Read full story)

Kuwait’s new finance minister has issued a stinging criticism of the country’s bloated administration and bureaucratic red tape, saying the economy cannot continue growing robustly in the long term if they are not reformed.  The comments by Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz al-Sabah, carried by state news agency KUNA on Monday, were his first extensive public policy statement since he took his job in August.  Sheikh Salem left the central bank last year after 25 years as its governor, protesting against a rapid rise in government spending.  It is not clear whether he will have more success in shaping Kuwait’s fiscal policy in his new role.  His remarks echoed criticism by the International Monetary Fund, which said last week that despite its huge oil wealth, Kuwait needed to rein in public spending, especially on wages, and find new sources of income to protect its budget position.

Campaign for female driving shifts gear: Shoura women join cause

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

Three women Shoura Council members recommended on Tuesday that the ban on women driving in the Kingdom be lifted.
According to one council member, Latifa Al-Shaalan, she and two fellow council members, Haya Al-Mani and Muna Al-Mashit, filed a recommendation urging the Kingdom’s top consultative body to “recognize the rights of women to drive a car in accordance with the principles of Shariah and traffic rules.”  They raised the issue during the Shoura Council’s review of a Ministry of Transport report.  “There is no law that bans women from driving. It is only a matter of tradition,” Al-Shaalan told AFP.  Saudi women have “made many achievements … and have acquired leading positions in the government and the UN, yet they are banned from driving. This creates a negative image (for the Kingdom) abroad,” she told the wire service.

16,606 people vow to donate organs

Source: The Peninsula (Read full story)

The number of people who have registered as organ donors in Qatar has increased significantly as a result of a campaign held during Ramadan, said a senior official yesterday.   The number has increased by seven times, with 16,606 people registering as donors during the campaign at the City Centre Mall over 40 days. The campaign in 2012 received 2,500 donors.   “However the serious shortage of organs and the gap between the number of organs donated and the number of people waiting for transplants remains high,” Dr Riadh Fadhil, Director of the Qatar Organ Donation Centre (Hiba), told a press conference yesterday.  In Qatar, 70 people are waiting for kidney and 14 for liver transplants. All people who have signed the registry have signed as diseased donors from 88 nationalities aged between 18 and 89 years.

APICORP acquires TAQA stake

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

Ahmad bin Hamad Al-Nuaimi, APICORP’s CEO and GM, said: “The TAQA equity acquisition is a perfect fit for our investment strategy.”  He said: “It is consistent with our commitment to supporting prominent Arab energy companies that show significant growth and value-creation potential. At the same time, it dovetails well into our objective of diversifying into sectors that provide vital support services for the hydrocarbon industry. TAQA has achieved robust growth over the last decade and its development has also brought tangible economic benefits … As part of our mandate, we are keen to invest in companies like TAQA that play a crucial role in helping Arab countries maximize efficiencies in the energy value chain. As the company gears to expand its operations, we look forward to supporting its growth along with other key shareholders.”  APICORP has a long and successful track record in participating as an equity stakeholder in companies in the Arab world.