Middle East Business Review

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According to the Scotsman, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond is expected to sign a deal with Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s green city project at the sidelines of World Energy Future Summit in the UAE capital later this month. The agreement will pave the way for co-operation on new power generating technologies including wind, solar, wave and tidal machines, the Scottish newspaper added. The work Masdar is taking forward on leading us to a low-carbon society is in perfect synchronisation with the work we are doing here in Scotland. the newspaper quoted Scottish First Minister as saying.

The Egyptian government has announced it will settle outstanding disputes over the price of land and other issues with around 20 local and foreign investors in a bid to encourage foreign direct investment and restore confidence in Egyptian economy. One of the companies set to benefit from the new resolve of the military government in Cairo is Damac, a Dubai-based property developer, whose chairman and owner, Hussain Sajwani, is facing a conviction in Egypt.

Work on the vital oil pipeline that connects Abu Dhabi’s oil wells to Fujairah’s oil terminal port, bypassing the Strait of Hormuz, has been delayed due to some technical difficulties, sources privy to the project told Bloomberg. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the two people working on the project, said as many as 270 construction issues have been pushed beyond the completion date and that the $3.3 billion project would not be ready by April this year. The plan envisages a 1.5 million barrel-a-day pipeline link that ensures the UAE’s oil exports in the wake of a US-led attack on Iran.

Oil giant Saudi Aramco will be finalising a deal with China’s Sinopec Group to build a new 400,000 barrels per day oil refinery in Red Sea port of Yanbu, according to a company statement. Aramco will hold a 62.5 per cent stake in the joint venture known as the Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Company (YASREF) – under the initial agreement while Sinopec will own the rest.

According to Federal Customs Authority (FCA), the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade registered an impressive growth during the first eight months of 2011 compared to that of the previous year. The preliminary statistics maintained suggest the country’s non-oil foreign trade grew by 22% compared to the same period of the previous years whereas total non-oil foreign trade grew from AED492.5 to AED600 during the first eight months of 2010 and AED600.1 in the same period of 2011, registering an increase of AED107.6billion. As per FCA, UAE total foreign trade in August 2011 valued year-on-year (YoY) AED76.2 billion compared to AED66.5 with an increase of 14%, in terms of value.

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has started a project to supply, extend, test and commission a new 900mm and 1200mm, 17km long reinforced fibreglass water pipeline. “The cost of the project will exceed AED 96 million and it will take about 24 months to complete. “This project is an addition to DEWA’s water network infrastructure, as it will enhance its efficiency and operational capacity to carry water to economically-important areas like Business Bay,” Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of Dewa, said in a statement.

Omani Finance Minister Darwish Al Balushi told Reuters his government intends to increase government spending by 43billion Omani riyal ($112billion) over the next five years. The 26 per cent budget boost will be implemented during its next five-year plan which ends in 2015. “It is the government’s response to the social requirements such as providing jobs, social security and unemployment benefits,” Al Balushi said. The oil windfall is expected to be spent on creating jobs for Omani nationals and improve their living standards.

According to data released by the Jordanian Department of Statistics, unemployment in the Hashemite kingdom averaged 13.1 per cent during last year. Unemployment among the young, university educated and women remained the highest in the country. The rate was highest in the Karak governate at 18.8 percent, and lowest in Aqaba at 9.6 percent. It also revealed that women were more likely than men to be unemployed, with 10.7 percent of men and 18.3 percent of women looking for work. The statistics also suggest that youth are the most affected by unemployment, around 34.4 percent of the 15-19 age group and 27.2 percent of the 20-24 age group were unemployed, the highest rates for any age cohort. Jordanian King Abdullah II expressed his concern last week over the high unemployment in the country and pledged to take concrete steps to tackle it.

(By Moign Khawaja – Editor: Arabian Gazette)

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