Day: August 24, 2007

Schools hike annual fees for transportation

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Schools hike annual fees for transportation
By Preeti Kannan / KHALEEJ TIMES 24 August 2007

DUBAI — As students gear up for the new academic year, their parents are faced with yet another ‘extra expense’ with many schools reportedly choosing to increase transportation fees.

It is learnt that Emirates International School (EIS) has hiked the annual transportation fee from Dh3,300 to Dh5,250 and Dubai International Academy (DIA) from Dh3,300 to Dh5,200. Also, the International School of Choueifat, Dubai, has upped it from Dh3,000 to Dh3,300, while Delhi Public School (DPS) Dubai is learnt to have hiked the fees by Dh150 on some select routes.

DPS Dubai’s rates have changed from Dh 1,650 to Dh1,800 on the Deira and Ghusais routes, while the fee for Bur Dubai and Satwa routes has gone up from Dh1,500 to Dh1,650.

An official from the school, who didn’t want to be named, pointed out that the diesel costs had prompted the move.

Be that as it may, the hike in transportation fees has added to the parents’ cup of woes.

“Any change in the transport fee does pinch our pockets. Already there are so many expenses to be incurred during the course of the year. However, as parents, we have no choice but to depend on the school buses to ferry our children,” says a parent, KN, whose ward is studying in the International School of Choueifat, Dubai.

Another parent, whose child studies in DIA and who didn’t wish to be named, also echoed similar views. “It does upset our budgets when there is such an increase. Nevertheless, we would have to bear the cost if we want to use the school bus.”

Transport company Diamondlease, which provides buses to EIS, Meadows, EIS Jumeirah and DIA, confirmed that the fees have been increased. However, company officials justified the hike, claiming that it was long due because operational costs had gone up considerably.

“We had not increased our rates since DIA started a few years back. The overall operational costs like hiring of drivers, accommodation and visas for them have gone up. Also the time taken to pick up and drop children is longer now. It is financially not viable for us to run buses at a low cost,” said a senior representative of the company, who did not wish to be named.

The principals of EIS Jumeirah and Meadows, however, refused to comment.

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ADCCI news

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ADCCI announces second five-year strategic plan
Wam/29 July 2007

ABU DHABI — Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI) declared its second five-year strategic plan, Salah Salem Al Shamsi, chairman of the Chamber said. “The strategy comes as a result of continuing development that the Chamber has witnessed.”

In a Press conference, Eng. Salah said that the strong belief of the Chamber in the importance of setting up a strategy and implementing it, would help any institution to achieve its strategic goals. He assured that the priorities and objectives of the new strategy had been set to serve the economic and construction boom that the UAE is witnessing now.

ADCCI signs deal with Toastmasters
BY A STAFF REPORTER /KHALEEJ TIMES 25 July 2007

ABU DHABI — The Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI) has signed a cooperation agreement with the Toastmasters International, a US company, to adopt its Communication & Leadership Programme.

Ahmad Hassan Al Mansouri, ADCCI director-general, signed the agreement with Ravender Ray, the programme’s regional representative, recently.

Al Mansouri said that adopting this international programme comes in the framework of the ADCCI’s plan to support the private sector and to create special international educational and training programmes.

“The application of the internationally-known programme is expected to serve the chamber’s plans and strategies that aim at developing the services offered to its members and businessmen and linking it to their actual needs,” Al Mansouri said, adding that developing communication and leadership skills is considered to be a top priority for any leading company.

Al Mansouri said that the programme aims at supporting the society’s needs and requirements, so that it may add knowledge and experience to all those working for different government bodies, local companies, private and official institutions.

He said the Chamber will be the sponsor of more than 10 events, covering communication and leadership programmes, in addition to associated events and exhibitions.

New fees in Dubai dilute benefits of tax exemptions

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New fees in Dubai dilute benefits of tax exemptions
By Ahmed A. Elewa, Staff Reporter/GULF NEWS Published: July 24, 2007, 23:05

Abu Dhabi: The advantage of tax exemptions in the UAE is being diluted by the many fees imposed on businesses, especially in Dubai, an economic expert said.

Dubai is seeking to multiply its visitors, capitalising on shopping promotions and events such as the ongoing Dubai Summer Surprises and the Dubai Shopping Festival.

However, the emirate risks major retail price hikes compared to other places in the region. The new fees have a multiplier effect not only on retail prices, but on the overall inflation rate.

“Although there are no taxes in Dubai there are many other hidden growing costs, such as the new municipality fee on property, health care, in addition to the Salik toll,” said Eckart Woertz, economist at the Gulf Research Centre.

Many other services are witnessing substantial cost increases, including education and warehousing.

“Such additional costs put more pressure on consumers, and with the possibility of a value added tax (VAT) being introduced, the situation can further deteriorate,” he added.

Expensive foodstuffs

Dubai’s high foodstuff prices could adversely affect the emirate’s endeavours to promote itself as a shopping destination.

Therefore, there must be careful consideration before introducing new fees, especially at a time when inflation is soaring as a result of robust economic growth.

“Dubai imports foodstuffs from countries like Europe, Canada and Australia, whose currencies have appreciated substantially against the dollar, hence adding the impact of imported inflation to impacts of domestic origin,” Woertz said.