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Diversification raises non-oil share of UAE's GDP to 71%
Economic stability is key factor in attracting foreign investment
Published:  April 18, 2011 00:00
By Binsal Abdul Kader, Staff Reporter
Y.B. Dato Mustapa Mohammad, Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry, opened the fourth edition of the Malaysia Services Exhibition in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News
Abu Dhabi: The contribution of the non-oil sector to the UAE's gross domestic product has increased to 71 per cent thanks to the country's economic diversification strategy, a top official said yesterday.
"Our foreign trade sector in particular is playing an important role in this regard with a 15 per cent contribution alone to GDP," Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of Foreign Trade, said while inaugurating the fourth edition of the Malaysia Services Exhibition (MSE 2011) in Abu Dhabi.
She said the UAE's economic diversification strategy has greatly contributed towards economic development, strengthening of existing sectors, and to the rise of new industries such as renewable energy, nuclear power, advanced technologies, and logistical services.
"Moreover, our non-oil foreign trade grew by 14 per cent in 2010 to $205 billion (Dh752 billion)," the minister said.
Economic stability is also a key factor in attracting foreign investments and partnerships, she said. "In this regard, I am pleased to say that the UAE has been one of the region's most econ-omically resilient countries in recent years. We have become home to 25 per cent of the world's top 500 companies and one of the world's top 30 trading nations. We are in fact the leading foreign direct investment destination in the Middle East and 14th in the world," the minister said.
She invited those interested in doing business with the UAE to take advantage of numerous commercial and investment incentives, such as a strategic location which places it a few hours away from the top European and Asian markets, world-class free zones, 100 per cent repatriation of capital and profits, easily accessible raw materials, cheap energy sources, and zero corporate profit taxes and personal income taxes.
Shaikha Lubna pointed out the abolition of the minimum capital requirement to establish a limited liability company.
Amazon adds Pakistan to its sellers’ list
Development opens up new opportunities for Pakistan’s small and medium-sized businesses
Published:  May 06, 2021 20:26
Sana Jamal, Correspondent
Image Credit: AP
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Islamabad: Amazon has added Pakistan to its approved list of countries that can directly sell on the world’s biggest e-commerce platform – a moment of celebration for Pakistani small businesses.
“We have finally made it,” stated the prime minister’s advisor on commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood on Twitter. “An important milestone of e-commerce policy has been achieved through teamwork”, he said, adding that the ministry has been engaged with Amazon since last year to open up the platform for Pakistanis. “It is a great opportunity for our youth, SMEs and women entrepreneurs,” he said.
Amazon will be adding Pakistan to its sellers’ list within a few days after which business owners can create their accounts on the online platform and take their business from Pakistan to the global markets.
World is opening up for Pakistani businesses
“Amazon opening up its platform for Pakistani businesses is like the world is opening up for Pakistani businesses. It is one of the biggest opportunities for small and medium-sized companies,” Badar Khushnood, e-commerce specialist and member National e-Commerce Council (NeCC), told Gulf News.
This move would also transform and diversify Pakistan’s current export focus from B2B (business-to-business) to B2C (business-to-consumer) which offers a “huge benefit for local entrepreneurs, artisans, and small businesses” to help reach Amazon’s 300 million customers globally in 200 countries, said Khushnood who as the co-founder of e-commerce platform Fishry.com is empowering hundreds of popular B2C retail brands. “Direct selling through Amazon can unlock additional revenue for Pakistani manufacturers who were otherwise already making jeans and high-end clothing for big brands such as Levi’s and Zara.”
The efforts to convince Amazon to open for Pakistani sellers began in early 2020 after the country’s first e-commerce policy framework was approved in October 2019. Efforts of officials and experts at Ministry of Commerce, Pakistan embassy and consulates in the United States and members of NeCC and Pakistan Software House Association (P@SHA) have been exemplary in achieving the e-commerce milestone for Pakistan, experts said.
Help businesses capitalise digital opportunities
“This is a dream-come-true moment for Pakistani businesses,” said Mehran Ali, an aspiring entrepreneur. He hopes the launch would expedite digitisation among small and medium businesses and help them capitalise on pandemic-induced e-commerce opportunities.
Pakistani e-commerce experts and businesses have described the development as a “game-changer for Pakistani small and medium enterprises (SME) – a dynamic sector of the economy that contributes to an estimated 40 per cent to the country’s GDP and 25 per cent to exports, according to Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA). SMEs in Pakistan comprise some 90 per cent of businesses and its total number is estimated to be 5.2 million. Experts have been calling for enhanced support and incentives for the sector that plays an outsized role in the economy.
Google says 20% of workers will be remote, many more hybrid
The policy announced Wednesday relaxes the company's stricter earlier stance
Published:  May 06, 2021 19:52
A woman walks below a Google sign on the campus in Mountain View, California.
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Mountain View, California: Google says it expects about 20% of its workforce to still work remotely after its offices reopen this fall, while some 60% will work a hybrid schedule that includes about three days in the office and two days "wherever they work best."
The remaining 20% can change their location to a different Google office.
The policy announced Wednesday relaxes the company's stricter earlier stance.
"The future of work is flexibility," CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in an email to employees that was also posted on Google's website. "The changes above are a starting point to help us do our very best work and have fun doing it."
Most of Google's 135,000 employees can continue to work from home through September of this year.
For up to 20 days per year, Google employees will also be able to work from any location other than their main office. That's up from a previous allotment of 10 days.
The company based in Mountain View, California, will also continue offering extra "reset" days - days off to help cope with the pandemic.
Google was among the first major technology companies last year to tell its employees to work from home at the onset of the pandemic. Other tech giants, such as Facebook and Twitter, have announced that people can work from home permanently after the pandemic if their jobs allow for it.
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