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Fruits of diversifying the economy: United Arab Emirates sees its total revenue surge 32pc

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Fruits of diversifying the economy: United Arab Emirates sees its total revenue surge 32pc

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) saw revenue increase 31.8 per cent in revenue in 2022, its finance minister said on Sunday, supporting an overall fiscal surplus last year.

One of the Gulf’s most diversified economies, the UAE has been developing its non-oil sectors, focusing on areas such as trade, tourism, manufacturing and logistics and financial services.

Read more: Is there any lesson to learn from Saudi Arabia?

Spending increased 6.1pc in 2022 on the year to stand at about 427 billion dirhams ($116bn), state news agency WAM said, citing the finance minister, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

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“Despite the increase in revenues, the UAE has maintained a cautious and rational spending policy,” it said, adding that the surplus would allow for stronger fiscal buffers to mitigate potential financial risks.

It gave no figure for the full-year fiscal surplus but in May the central bank said the surplus hit $46bn in the first nine months of 2022, supported by strong oil and non-oil revenue growth as well as high oil prices.

Growth in acquisitions of non-financial assets doubled, up 94.5pc in 2022 on the year.

Read more: FDI shrinks globally but is up 10pc to $23bn in UAE during 2022: UN report

In July, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) had said in a report that foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into the United Arab Emirates rose 10pc in 2022 from the previous year to a record $23 billion despite the fact that the FDI fell 12pc globally in the year – again showing the strength of the Gulf State’s economic strength.

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The efforts made to diversify the country’s economy can best be gauged by the fact that it has set up a federal entity to regulate gaming as Ras Al Khaimah, one of the UAE’s seven emirates, is set to open a roughly $3.9bn Wynn Resort featuring a casino.

Read more: Welcome to Ras Al Khaimah: UAE sets up gaming regulator, led by US industry veterans

The moves to allow gambling are against a backdrop of intensifying economic competition in the Gulf, especially with Saudi Arabia. The UAE has introduced a raft of liberal legal reforms as it tries to maintain its edge as the region’s trade, tourism and financial hub.

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Budget 2024-25: Sindh announces up to 30pc increase in salaries

Budget 2024-25: Sindh announces up to 30pc increase in salaries

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Budget 2024-25: Sindh announces up to 30pc increase in salaries

The Sindh government has proposed up to 30 percent increase in salaries of its employees in the budget for next fiscal year 2024-25. 

Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, who also holds the portfolio of finance minister, presented the budget in the provincial assembly on Friday. 

He said the government had proposed 30pc increase in salaries of officials from Grade 1 to 6, adding that there was 25pc increase for officials of Grade 7 to 16. Similarly, officers from Grade 17 to 22 would get 22pc hike in their salaries. 

Furthermore, the provincial government has propsed 15pc increase in pension of the retired employees. 

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Presenting the budget with a total outlay of Rs3,352 billion, he said, the government had decided to allocate Rs959 billion for development projects.

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Rs37,000 minimum wage: Sindh follows in the footstep of federal govt, Punjab

Rs37,000 minimum wage: Sindh follows in the footstep of federal govt, Punjab

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Rs37,000 minimum wage: Sindh follows in the footstep of federal govt, Punjab

The Sindh government has revised the minimum wage for unskilled labourers to Rs37,000 in line with decisions of the federal and Punjab governments. 

The minimum salary has been increased by Rs5,000 as previously it stood at Rs32,000. The proposal was laid forth by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah while presenting the budget for the fiscal year 2024-25. 

Meanwhile, the Sindh government has proposed up to 30 percent increase in salaries of its employees in the budget for next fiscal year 2024-25. 

The chief minister said the government had proposed 30pc increase in salaries of officials from Grade 1 to 6, adding that there was 25pc increase for officials of Grade 7 to 16. Similarly, officers from Grade 17 to 22 would get 22pc hike in their salaries. 

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Furthermore, the provincial government has propsed 15pc increase in pension of the retired employees.

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Budget 2024-25: Let’s figure out the cost of essentials

Budget 2024-25: Let’s figure out the cost of essentials

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Budget 2024-25: Let's figure out the cost of essentials

The federal government has announced a staggering Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) worth Rs1,500 billion. 

According to the budget document, all federal divisions have been allocated budget, except the Poverty Alleviation and Special Safety Division, which deals directly with matters concerning 95 million people who are living in abject poverty. 

Sadly, the Poverty Alleviation and Special Safety Division gets nothing in the PSDP 2024-25. 

Worse still, the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety does not have any minister as its head, rendering it almost moribund for more than 10 months. Earlier, Dr Sania Nishtar was chairing it during the PTI government, followed by Shazia Marri during the PDM government. 

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Last year, 12.5 million people slipped into poverty, which took it from 34.2pc to 39.4pc, according to the World Bank. 

The government has conveniently ignored the poor in the budget. Other than announcing Rs598.71billion under the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), no substantial amount has been earmarked for reducing poverty. 

Your next read: BUDGET 2024-25 – A LAYMAN’S GUIDE 

Analysts believe that 27 percent increase in BISP from Rs471.3 billion to Rs598.71 billion has been made to placate the Pakistan Peoples Party, which may take the wind out of PML-N’s sails anytime. 

BURGEONING TAXES 

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On the other hand, if we delve into the details of burgeoning taxes, Sales Tax stands out in afflicting the poor the most. 

Now a sales tax of 10pc will be charged on stationery items. 

Tribal area residents who have been experiencing extreme poverty will now have to pay 6pc tax on the supply and import of plant machinery as well as electricity on both residential and commercial connections. 

Following the similar trajectory, a 10pc sales tax will be charged on the local supply of vermicelli, buns, poultry feed, cattle feed, sunflower seed meal, newsprint, books, oil cakes and tractors. 

On mobile phones whose value is less than $500 (Rs139,240), 18pc tax has been imposed. If the value of purchased phone exceeds $500, an existing rate of 25pc will remain unchanged. 

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Earlier, the retailers of leather and textile products who paid 15pc sales tax will now have to pay 18pc tax. 

Drug prices will increase massively as the sales tax on raw materials used in production of pharmaceutical items has been raised to 18pc from 1pc. This will be applicable on medical treatment, diagnostic equipment, heart surgery, neurosurgery, electrophysiology, endoscopy, endosurgery, oncology, urology, gynaecology, disposables and other medical equipment.

Besides, 20pc sales tax on import of syringes, needles, catheters, cannulae, blood collection tube of glass and blood collection tube of PET.

Moreover, charitable hospitals with 50 or more beds will pay 18pc sales tax on imported medical goods. 

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