Dubai Introduces new VAT
Dubai is set to introduce heavy new taxes on unhealthy items, as the Emirate continues its battle with obesity and related conditions.
Under the new legislation passed by the UAE’s Federal Tax Authority Board, tobacco and energy drinks will now be subject to a 100% value added tax, whilst carbonated beverages will face a 50% VAT.
The new tax will come into force for the third quarter of this year, with the hope being that it will deter the Emirate's increasingly unhealthy population from further lifestyle related health issues, with the money raised helping to fund the additional care needed by nationals dealing with the impact of unhealthy lifestyles.
Across the Gulf the burden of noncommunicable diseases is beginning to take its toll, with rates of conditions like diabetes getting higher across all age groups. Dubai’s latest technique to tackle this may annoy some people, however it could force those at risk of developing conditions to think more about what they consume.
Ambulance Services will now cost in Dubai
Dubai’s Corporation for Ambulance Services has announced that it will no longer be able to provide transport free of charge, with its basic operation costs requiring funding.
Services will be covered by an individual's health insurance card, whilst the group has promised that it will provide care to those without insurance free on a “humanitarian basis.”
The new funding model is set to be implemented by the end of the year, with the DCAS claiming that it is necessary to improve the care offered, not to make profits.
Their executive director, Khalifa bin Darri, told the Khaleej Times that: "The health insurance coverage shall help in reducing the government spending on ambulances and emergencies, while the DCAS will cover the emergency needs of people who do not have valid health insurance according to the current policy.”
Dubai’s Ambulance fleet is considered one of the biggest in the world, with over 177 vehicles ranging from ‘fast responder’ Lotus Evoras and Ford Mustangs, to more conventional large vans and trucks. This ensures that anyone in need can receive care as quickly as possible throughout the Emirate.
Saudia Health Set for Takeover
NMC Health appear to be leading the list of interested parties in Saudia Health, the medical services arm of the Kingdom’s Saudia Airlines.
According to Reuters the news agency, NMC are just one of many groups considering a move for the Jeddah based firm, which is expected to reach more than $500m. Asset management group, Ashmore, and Saudi based Dallah Health also appear to be weighing up bids, whilst there is believed to be interests from Dr. Sulaiman Al Habib Medical, and the Saudi German Hospital.
Should NMC acquire Saudia, it will represent another strong step into the Saudi healthcare market for the Abu Dhabi based company, which has already invested $32m in a new long term care facility in Jeddah and Al Salama Hospital in Al Khobar.
With the future for the Kingdom’s healthcare market looking as strong as ever, despite the oil boom beginning to slow, now could be the perfect time to make a move to one of the world’s most unique locations.
If you believe that your future could lie in one of the countries covered in this roundup, or if you are considering a move elsewhere in the Gulf, register on our website today. A dream move could be closer than you might imagine.