Tuesday, July 7, 2015

NBK’s economic update reports Kuwait inflation at 3.3% in May

Amid a slowdown or stabilization across all components except healthcare and local food, inflation in the consumer price index (CPI) inched down from 3.4 percent year-on-year (y/y) in April to 3.3 percent y/y in May. Although relatively low, local food inflation climbed at a gradual pace for the third consecutive month. Local food inflation is expected to remain soft in the second half of this year with the International food prices declining as well. In order to limit any significant inflationary gains, the stronger dinar is also projected. The average annual inflation rate is forecast to close to 3.5 percent in 2015.

Core inflation (CPI excluding food items) eased for the second consecutive month in May, from 3.7 percent y/y in April to 3.5 percent y/y. Core inflation is seeing some reprieve because of subdued inflation across most components. Housing inflation is also expected to ease modestly in the near-to-medium term which will help keep core inflation in check. Inflation is off and now under 2 percent y/y excluding housing (and food).

Global food prices declined by 17.5 percent y/y and Inflation in the local food price index edged up from 2.3 percent y/y in April to 2.6 percent y/y in May. The rise in local food inflation may be due to the increased demand in the run-up to the holy month of Ramadan in June.

Local Food inflation will remain soft in the second half of 2015 because international food prices are still declining. Inflation in housing services remained unchanged from April at 6.3 percent y/y. This inflation component is updated once every quarter with the next update due in the June report.

Due to healthy demand levels, Housing inflation rose to an almost six-year high in March though it is expected to subside later in 2015. Clothing and footwear inflation declined by almost 1 percent and furnishing and household maintenance inflation remained comfortable. Since most of the products in this segment are imported and the dinar has remained strong the inflation is trending lower for a year. The inflation of 'other goods and services' was down to 2.4 percent y/y in May from 2.7 percent y/y in April.
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Monday, July 6, 2015

Kuwait Planning to Finance Budget Deficit by Issuing Bonds

Kuwait is considering issuing bonds among various options to finance a budget deficit created by low oil prices, Finance Minister Anas al-Saleh said on Thursday.

The Finance Minister Anas al-Saleh said on Thursday that Kuwait is considering issuing bonds among various options to finance a budget deficit created by low oil prices. In an interview with Al Arabiya television he said that there was a possibility of going to the market and issuing bonds and so on this year. A specialized team at the central bank is currently studying this issue and the most important factor will be what's best for the country and economically beneficial to the markets.

He however did not specify whether Kuwait was considering issuing international or domestic bonds. The government currently does not have outstanding dollar bonds and only a modest domestic debt.

Saleh said the figures which came as a surprise, showed a budget deficit of 2.31 billion dinars ($7.6 billion) in the last fiscal year to March 31, and it was the first since 1999/2000.

The parliament approved a budget for the current year which forecasts a deficit of 8.18 billion dinars.
Like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait may run down assets in its sovereign wealth fund in addition to issuing bonds.

The Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, which tracks the industry estimates that the Kuwaiti fund holds $548 billion of assets.
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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Digital Business in Qatar to Grow in the Coming Years

Cisco launched its 10th annual Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast 2015. The forecast stated that the location of Qatar is beneficial in advancing digital market and business in the country. It is estimated that the total internet users in the Middle East and Africa is slated to grow to 425 million by 2019. The growing demand for mobile devices and usage of social networking is cause of digital advancing in the Middle East. An annual growth rate of 44 percent in the Middle East and Africa is estimated by 2019. The internet users will increase by 3.9 billion from 2.8 billion last year.

The increased usage of internet, mobile devices, faster broadband speed, machine-to-machine (M2M) connections and video services are noted as the key factors that drive internet traffic growth. The social networking sites are the most exploited and will look to develop it furthermore. There are about 176 million users, say about 81 percent of residential internet users using social networks.
The business along with the consumers and societies in Qatar are pacing their way towards the era of digitization, as said by the General Manager of Cisco Qatar, Mohammad Hammoudi.


He further added that, since Internet is the fast developing technology, they will look into benefiting the Middle Eastern industries, government agencies, healthcare, sports, entertainment, education and manufacturing, transportation, oil and gas, thereby improving the lives of citizens.

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Kuwait Petroleum Corporation’s ‘Vision 2030’ focuses on Human Resources Development

On the occasion of inauguration of Vision 2030 (People Excellence for Success) by Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) at Hilton Hotel in Mangaf, the Acting CEO Mohammed Al-Farhoud said that KPC will be ensuring proper training and implementation of latest trends to strengthen their employees’ skills and capabilities. A KPC official also added that they will look at fostering their human resource as per the changing technology to survive in the market. This will ensure that the employees have a healthy work environment which will help them achieve the company’s goals.

Furthermore, Farhoud added that KPC has already implemented some of the initiatives to train their employees. He believes that these initiatives would also help to develop their HR sector. They have already introduced an HR operating model.


The three-day Vision 2030 seminar also saw various presentations given by different companies’ HR managers. Some of the companies who attended the seminar were Total EP, Hay Group, Burgan, Ernst and Young, Accenture, Ratqa, Minagish and Wafra. The seminar also discussed subjects such as overviewing oil and gas industry’s compensation, the future of work in the oil industry, leveraging change management and major transformation and strategic workplace and planning practice in the Middle East. Various oil companies with their top management employees, senior management and HR personnel were also present for the seminar.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

UNRWA Pleased by Kuwait’s Generous Donation to Help Palestine Refugees across Middle East

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was very much pleased to inform in a press release about the generous donation made by Kuwait government to help the refugees from Palestine across the Middle East. Kuwait donated a sum of $15 million for the human development team of UNRWA.

The Permanent Representative of the State of Kuwait, Mansour Al-Otaib announced at a ceremony held at Geneva on June 11 about the country’s contribution to UNRWA. The funds were finally given at a UN meet held in New York by the Representative himself.

UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl was pleased by this act of Kuwait and thanked the Amir of Kuwait and its people for its generosity. He also added that these funds are to be used for the many refugees who unwantedly were caught up in war in Syria. This will help to fulfil their daily needs and provide them with basic necessities of life who are meanwhile living under the blockade and occupation in Gaza and the West Bank.

Kuwait has donating selflessly to the UNRWA and has been their consistent donors whenever there were times of crisis. In 2014, UNRWA was helped with $14 million by Kuwait. Also, in 2013, $29 million was funded to the UNRWA.

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

WHO lauds Kingdom's efforts to tackle MERS

RIYADH: The World Health Organization (WHO) has appreciated the efforts of Saudi Arabia in tackling the MERS coronavirus and urged all the countries to remain alert and ready. The organization confirmed that the warning issued by it regarding the spread of MERS in South Korea and the increased incidence of infection and deaths due to the disease should serve as a "wake up call." Peter ben Embarek, director of global programs at WHO, said public health authorities in the Kingdom are active, and have developed a strong and coherent program to combat and follow up on MERS and reduce the number of cases and deaths. 




In events involving gathering of large groups of people, such as Umrah and Haj, Embarek said the Saudi health authorities have been proactive in providing all necessary services to visitors and pilgrims. "Special standards have been set for countries sending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia to ensure that adequate awareness and safety measures are in full effect." The Kingdom has already proven capable of containing the virus during the Haj and Umrah season last year with not a single case being registered during that period, he said. According to a statement issued by WHO on Thursday, the MERS outbreak in South Korea is a reflection of how easy diseases can spread in an increasingly interconnected world. 

The organization, however, clarified that it was optimistic and no bans on travel or trade would be required at this stage. Health officials in South Korea have announced the discovery of eight new cases of MERS, bringing the death toll in the country to 20. A total of 162 people have been infected with the virus in South Korea, which has witnessed the largest outbreak outside Saudi Arabia. The first case involved a 68-year-old Korean businessman who had just returned from a trip to the Middle East in early May. WHO said it expects the emergence of new cases over the next few weeks, although the numbers might be decreasing overall. 



The Ministry of Health in South Korea said quarantine was imposed on at least 6,500 people, both in medical centers and in their homes. Meanwhile, the Saudi Ministry of Health announced a new MERS-related death, bringing the total number of deaths to 457 so far. The Kingdom has reported 1,034 MERS cases since 2012. A patient fully recovered in Riyadh recently, bringing the total number of recovery cases to 570, while six other are currently being treated and one is in home quarantine. The mortality rate among MERS patients is 35 percent, and no vaccine or cure exists.




Citation : Zawya : https://goo.gl/a7HncE

Monday, June 15, 2015

Euro under pressure with Greece's debt talks stumble


LONDON (Reuters) - The euro fell on Monday to its lowest level in nearly two weeks against the Swiss franc, considered a safe haven after attempts to break the deadlock between Greece and its creditors failed over the weekend.
The talks, which took place on Sunday, one hour did not last, indicating significant differences between the two sides.
The euro slipped to 1.0422 Swiss francs, its lowest level since the third of June, then improved to 1.0465 thus stable compared with the previous close. The single currency fell 0.3 percent to $ 1.1230 to stray more from a peak last week of $ 1.1387.

And the euro helped the dollar index losses to rise 0.2 percent to 95.167 and away from its lowest level in nearly a month 94.322 hit last week. The US currency rose 0.2 percent to 123.58 yen.
CITATION FROM REUTERS EDITION :http://goo.gl/k6FPNN

Sunday, June 14, 2015

India scraps import duties on AIDS drugs to battle shortage

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MUMBAI, June 11 (Reuters) - India has scrapped customs import duties for drugs and test kits used to treat AIDS in an effort to cut prices across the country, as it struggles to cope with an ongoing shortage in its national program to fight the disease.
More than a third of India's 2.1 million HIV/AIDS patients depend on getting their daily antiretrovirals for free from state-run distribution centres, but many of them have been facing shortages or stock outs for months.
The notice put out by the Central Board of Excise and Customs this week intends to make it cheaper to import raw materials that are used to make antiretrovirals under the national program, BB Rewari of the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) told Reuters.
Currently, U.S. firm Mylan Inc and India's Aurobindo Pharma supply AIDS drugs to the government program.
The exemption applies to certain first-line and second-line antiretroviral drugs used to treat adults and children, as well as to certain diagnostic kits and equipment that are used by NACO, Rewari said.
He added the drugs under exemption make up roughly 95 percent of the antiretrovirals used by India's AIDS patients under the national program.
The exemption, which will remain in effect until March 2016, is the national AIDS control department's latest effort to deal with a chronic shortage of HIV/AIDS drugs at home, even though Indian companies are some of the world's major suppliers of AIDS drugs. Local firm Cipla Ltd made headlines in 2001 by making antiretrovirals for Africa for under $1 a day.
The AIDS control program has been in disarray for months after the government changed the way over $1.3 billion in federal funds were distributed, according to data and letters seen by Reuters.
Construction of clinics in rural areas has been delayed and many health workers have quit.
Government officials have previously told Reuters of a lack of participation by local drugmakers in the tenders floated by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) to procure drugs.
Industry insiders, meanwhile, cite delayed tender approvals, supply bottlenecks and late payments, as well as poor coordination between the central and state governments.
AIDS drugs sold on the open market are expensive, so in an effort to make those more affordable, the government is likely to add more AIDS drugs under price control by including them in the national list of essential medicines, people involved in the process told Reuters in April.

citation from  zawya : https://goo.gl/72Jh21

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Kuwait to table corporate tax bill in 2 years - finance minister


LONDON, June 8 (Reuters) - Kuwait expects to table a bill to harmonise corporate tax rates between local and foreign firms in around two years' time, offering incentives to key sectors like telecoms and IT, the country's finance minister said on Monday.
Kuwait said in April it was studying proposals to introduce the same levy for domestic firms, which generally pay little or no tax on income, and foreign companies, whose commercial activities are taxed with a rate of 55 percent in the highest bracket. 

"We are looking at many, many scenarios ... but we are definitely looking at matching them," Finance Minister Anas al-Saleh told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in London. 

"We need to draft legislation ... in 24 months we should have a law that can go to parliament." 

Saleh expected the rate for international firms to fall and the levy on local companies to rise, though he declined to indicate a level. He added the government was also looking at introducing tax breaks for companies operating in key sectors like IT, telecommunications and petrochemicals. 

"There will also (be) incentives, incentives to encourage corporates to focus on certain sectors that are needed for our economy," he said. 

Introducing a new corporate tax will be politically sensitive in Kuwait, which has seen pressure on its state finances because of the plunge in oil prices. Officials say they want to diversify revenue sources beyond oil. 

Saleh reiterated there were no plans to introduce income tax for individuals. 


citation : taken from zawya - https://goo.gl/4jAxyZ

Monday, June 8, 2015

Indian Maggi sales halted in Dubai


Sunday, Jun 07, 2015
Dubai: A Dubai Municipality official confirmed shops have been asked to halt sales of Maggi noodles made in India.
Officials in India have said samples of Maggi made in India tested positive for unacceptably high levels of lead.
Maggi maker Nestle has said its internal tests, as well as external lab reports, showed Maggi is safe to eat but has voluntarily recalled the product from shops in India on a temporary basis.
In India, there is an official ban on sale of locally made Maggi in some Indian states while other states continue to sell it.
In Dubai, Maggi made in Malaysia, rather than in India, is imported and distributed to local retailers, Nestle Middle East and Dubai Municipality have said, adding that the product is safe.
However, some Dubai shops directly import Maggi from India to cater to mostly Indians who prefer Maggi flavours and varieties made in India.
Following developments in India, Dubai shops have been asked to stop selling Maggi made in India, said Khalid Al Awadhi, Director, Food Control Department, Dubai Municipality .
There is no change in policy towards Maggi made in Malaysia and shops can continue selling that, he added.
Meanwhile, Nestle continues to maintain all Maggi products, regardless of their origin, are safe to eat. It said in a statement that it “reassures consumers in the Middle East that all Maggi products sold are safe and compliant with the highest quality standards.
“We are continuously engaging with authorities in our region and we thank them for their active collaboration.
“Quality and food safety are our top priority and we perform regular tests on our raw material and finished products to ensure food safety and full compliance”.
Dhananjay Datar, managing director of retail chain Al Adil Trading, said the company has destroyed its stock of Maggi made in India. He added that following a query on the status of Maggi made in India, there was an instruction from the municipality on Friday to stop sales of the product.
Hypermarket chain Lulu Middle East earlier said the Maggi noodles sold in their shops are not from India.
“All the Maggi noodles sold here in our shops are from Nestle Middle East and sourced from Malaysia. We don’t import from any other country,” V. Nandakumar, chief communications officer at Lulu Group, had said.
Citation - Taken from ZAWYA : https://goo.gl/Qgu8FP

Monday, June 1, 2015

ARE YOU LOSING SLEEP OVER YOUR SMARTPHONE?

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Friday, May 29, 2015
Dubai: While convenient, keeping your mobile phone at arm’s length when one is sleeping has proven to affect quality of sleep, and even health.
Research conducted by several universities and doctors has shown that radiation emitted from mobile phones, especially 3G and 4G-enabled smart phones, delays and disrupts sleep.
Dr Saeed Taghizadeh, specialist neurologist at Prime Hospital, pointed out that electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phones also interferes with the body’s ability to heal.
He referred to research led by by Professor Bengt Arnetz, a Swedish professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which found that using a handset right before bed prolongs the amount of time it takes for people to reach a deep state of sleep.
“Anything that disrupts the quality of our sleep impacts our attentiveness and irritability in the short and long term.”
While productive sleep helps our bodies recover form the stresses of the day, the affects of being exposed to cell phone radiation through out the night is more likely to be evident in children and adolescents.
Dr Taghizadeh explained that sleeping beside a phone is especially bad for children and teenagers who typically need more sleep than adults.
“It can cause mood and personality changes such as [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] ADHD-like symptoms and depression.”
Dr Fatima Nazir, general practitioner at Gardens Speciality Clinic, told Gulf News that experts are concerned about the effects of the radiation, as some research suggests that sleeping with your mobile by your bedside can cause dizziness and headaches, and can even trigger insomnia and other sleeping disorders.
“At the very least it makes us hyper vigilant so our sleep is more likely to be disturbed and we don’t get enough of the restorative sleep we need,” said Dr Nazir.
What happens when you sleep?
The hormone cortisol that signals us to wake up, and the hormone melatonin, which makes us sleepy are controlled by the light-sensitive cells in the brain.
“Light stimulates cells in the retina, the area at the back of the eye that transmits messages to the brain, and the light-sensitive cells inform the body what time it is,” explained Dr Fatima. When sleeping beside a mobile phone or tablet, the blue light emitted from the device has a stimulating effect. The cells in the retina are most sensitive to blue light because of a pigment called melanopsin, which is why reading on a phone or a tablet before bed is more likely to keep a person awake than reading a book using a bedside light.
“For this reason, experts advise a ban on screen time two to three hours before bed,” said Dr Fatima.
With smart phones replacing most traditional devices such as alarm clocks and flash lights, sleeping with your phone in the next room can be a big inconvenience.
However, it can be the solution for a good night’s sleep.
Citation - Taken from ZAWYA : https://goo.gl/NLJrcO

Sunday, May 31, 2015

HEALTH MINISTRY WARNING OVER PANADOL



UAE Ministry of Health issues warning over wrong dosage instruction on Panadol Baby & Infant suspension packaging

Dubai: The Ministry of Health is warning the public that Panadol Children & Infant suspension product labels on the medicine box do not indicate the proper dosage levels.
Improper dosage levels could lead to children being given too much of the medicine, the ministry warned on Thursday in a public statement.
The Ministry of Health sent out the warning to inform all medical entities, heads of medical centers, managers of public and private hospitals, doctors, pharmacists and assistant pharmacists.
The ministry drew attention to all target audiences that changes will be made to the information printed on the medicine boxes of the manufacturing company Glaxosmithkine.
According to a statement released by the ministry, "dose specification found on the medicine box is wrong and this results in giving the child or the infact a dose that does not suit their age due to an excessive dose of Paracetamol entering the body which could lead to liver poisoning."
Dr. Amin Hussain Al Ameri, Assistant Undersecretary for Medical Practice and License Department in the Ministry of Health, signed the statement.
He could not be reached for comment by press time on Thursday.
Additionally, the Ministry of Health advises doctors to disregard the doses listed on the Panadol Infant and Children medicine boxes.
They are told to determine the necessary dose an infant should receive based on their age and weight until further notice from the Drug Management and Regulation section in the ministry.
The ministry has also provided a form for patients to fill out in case of any side effects provided by the ADR which can be found online on the website (www.cpd-pharma.ae).

 Citation - Taken From ZAWYA - https://goo.gl/CnYIJp