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WARSHIP LAUNCHED IN ABU DHABI

Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) unveiled the 72-metre warship named ‘Mezyad’ which is part of the AED4 billion ($1.09billion) Baynunah Class Corvettes which can be deployed for various missions, including coastal patrol and surveillance, helicopter support and naval defence. The vessels can be fitted with surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles; 3D surveillance, navigation and fire control radars; and a state-of-the-art electronic warfare suite. “Baynunah Class is a unique ship, very sophisticated and very complex that attracts every navy in the world. We are currently working on a 12 by 26 metre boat for the UAE Navy and on a 34 by 16 metre boat for the Critical National Infrastructure Authority, and also refurbishing and upgrading 12 24-metre boats for the navy,” Mohammad Salem Al Junaibi, CEO of ADSB, said in a statement.

UAE CUTTING $3BN IN ENERGY COSTS BY 2030

According to a study conducted by Oliver Wyman, a global management consulting firm, the UAE can trim its energy costs by up to AED11 billion ($3 billion) a year by 2030. The study noted that increasing population and escalating commercial and residential demand for electricity is turning the nation into a major oil consumer instead of producer. “The time is ripe for MENA (Middle East and North Africa) countries to take a closer look at energy efficiency technologies and programmes. Even moderate adoption of proven energy efficiency measures could reduce energy demand by one-quarter to one-half in the year 2030, greatly freeing up capital,” said Marc Hormann, Oliver Wyman partner and co-author of the study.

UAE GOVT VOWS STERN ACTION AGAINST PRICE HIKES

The government of the UAE has announced it will take tough action against retailers engaged in fixing, manipulation or hiking of prices of products or services without the approval from the Ministry of Economy. Dr Hashim Saeed Al Nuaimi, director general of the Consumer Protection Department of the Ministry of Economy promised stern action against violators. “Suppliers, traders or services providers are not allowed to increase their prices whenever they want unless they [can] justify the reason [behind the] increase to get an approval from the ministry,” Al Nuaimi said while adding that fines will range from AED5,000 to AED100,000. He also announced the introduction of barcodes that would link Dubai Customs to his department and help officials to keep a check on price and quality of the product.

TOURISM TO STRENGTHEN DUBAI ECONOMY

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Dubai Department of Economic Development, said tourism will play a key role in the growth of emirate’s economy. “Despite all of the challenges we have faced in the year 2009 and the start of 2010 we have succeeded in encouraging the economy and promoting economic sectors,” he said during the launch of the Dubai Economic Outlook 2012 in the emirate. He added that GDP reached 3 per cent last year, up from 2.5 per cent the year before.

DUBAI HOTELIER ACQUIRES MASSIVE BEACH-FACING PROPERTY

Jebel Ali International Hotels (JIAH) has purchased a beach-facing property in Dubai Marina’s Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) for more than $100 million from Abu Dhabi-based Das Holdings. The yet to be named purpose-built 341-room 4-star hotel will be managed by JAIH which also runs the Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa, Hatta Fort Hotel and Oasis Beach Towers in Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Residence area. “We see Dubai going from strength to strength on the leisure side. Leisure arrivals are keeping pace with the available inventory that�s on the beach and we see that going up and we�re very well placed for that. This is a property that we wanted to own for sure,� said David Thomson, JAIH regional general manager.

QATAR REVELS IN HOTEL ROOMS FRENZY

Qatari Ministry of Tourism announced around 25 properties including 10 hotel apartments entered the market, making more than 6,000 hotel rooms available in the country during the Q3 of last year. The gas-rich sheikhdom is busy constructing 77 new hotels and 42 hotel apartments as part of the 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign. According to data released by STR Global, a travel consultancy, occupancy rates for 2011 remained relatively stable, registering a nominal increase of 0.4% compared to year before. In additions to the hotels, the nation is building 12 new football stadiums, a new international airport, seaport, and a metro and railway system, worth more than $100bn in total.

JORDAN SUFFERING FROM ENERGY HIKES

According to the Department of Statistics, Jordan imported oil worth 3.46 dinars ($5.25 billion) and 260 million dinars worth oil derivates and electricity during 2011, representing 28.7% of the country’s total imports. The Hashemite Kingdom also paid a heavy price on energy imports due to political unrest in Egypt as well as rising oil prices, further widening the import-export gap. The report noted that Jordan is experiencing energy prices of astronomical proportions at a time when fiscal austerity is being practiced by the government. The Arab country subsidises the cost of electricity for its citizens which translates into additional burden on the government�s fiscal budget.

EGYPT TOURISM HIT BY SPATE OF KIDNAPPINGS

Analysts in Egypt insist the country’s tourism industry is suffering from crisis due to significantly deteriorating situation. Experts suggested the country is facing $5 billion in losses due to repeated kidnappings of tourists at the hands of Bedouins in the southern Sinai region. Adel Abdel-Razek, a member of the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Commerce, said occupancy rates were down 40% in Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada, 15% in greater Cairo, and 8% in Luxor. He added that the number of vehicles operating in Aswan fell to only five out of 271, with many workers having no work to do, while hotels have lost out billions of dollars over the past six months.

(By Moign Khawaja – Editor: Arabian Gazette)

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