Kuwait mulls tax on expats’ remittances

News Network
May 20,2020

Cairo, May 20: A senior Kuwaiti lawmaker has called for imposing a tax on expatriates’ remittances to shore up the country’s finances.

MP Khalil Al Saleh, the head of the parliament’s Human Resources Committee, has presented a draft law on the proposed tax to the legislature.

“Imposing fees on expatriates’ transfers will have a role in improving the state's revenues and diversify sources of income,” he told Al Rai newspaper.

Migrant workers transfer about 4.2 billion dinars annually from Kuwait, he added, citing figures from Kuwait’s Central Bank.

“This system is in effect in most countries of the world and in more than one Gulf country. Expats there have not objected to it. Allowing this money to exit the country is very dangerous and has a direct effect on economy,” MP Al Saleh said.

“We do not target brotherly expats because imposing symbolic fees on financial transfers will not affect their money, but will have a positive effect on the state’s sources,” he said. “This has become a necessity after the money transferred outside Kuwait has reached 4.2 billion dinars annually without the state [Kuwait] making any benefit from this.”

Foreign workers make up 3.3 million of Kuwait’s 4.6 million population.

Several Kuwaiti public figures have recently pushed for redrawing the demographic imbalance in the country, accusing expatriates of straining health facilities and increasing the Covid-19 threat.

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Hosting ‘limited’ hajj required double efforts amid pandemic: Saudi king

Agencies
July 31,2020

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Makkah, Jul 31: Organising this year's scaled-down hajj required "double efforts" by Saudi authorities amid the coronavirus pandemic, King Salman said Friday after being discharged from hospital following gall bladder surgery.

Only up to 10,000 people already residing in the kingdom are participating in this year's pilgrimage, compared with 2019's gathering of some 2.5 million from around the world.

"Holding the ritual in the shadow of this pandemic... required reducing the numbers of pilgrims, but it obliged various official agencies to put in double efforts," 84-year-old King Salman said in a speech read out on state television by acting media minister Majid Al-Qasabi.

"The hajj this year was restricted to a very limited number of people from multiple nationalities, ensuring the ritual was completed despite the difficult circumstances," he said.

The speech came on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim festival of sacrifice, a day after the king left hospital following a 10-day stay for surgery to remove his gall bladder.

The hajj, which began on Wednesday, is one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime.

Authorities implemented the "highest health precautions" during the rituals, the king said.

Pilgrims, who were all tested for the virus, are required to wear masks and observe social distancing.

For Friday's "stoning of the devil", the last major ritual of the hajj, Saudi authorities offered the pilgrims pebbles that were sanitised to protect against the pandemic.

In a sign that its strict measures were working, the health ministry reported no coronavirus cases in the holy sites on Wednesday or Thursday.

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NRI who lost son in accident pays towards repatriation of 61 Indians from UAE

News Network
July 28,2020

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Dubai, Jul 28: A heart-broken father who lost his 19-year-old son in a tragic car accident during Christmas last year has sponsored the repatriation costs of 61 Indians stranded in the UAE.

 The special flydubai repatriation flight, chartered by the All Kerala Colleges Alumni Federation (Akcaf) volunteer group, of which he is a member of, departed from Dubai to Kochi on July 25 carrying 199 passengers.

 On this particular flight, I sponsored 55 air tickets," said TN Krishnakumar, a sales and marketing director. He had lost his son Rohit Krishnakumar in a car accident, which also claimed the life of the teen's friend, Sharat Kumar (21).

"All passengers who were registered with the Indian missions were also asked to register on the Akcaf volunteer group website. Each passenger was further vetted, after which we made home visits to ensure that all the applicants were genuinely in need of financial support and repatriation," he said.

Commenting on what inspired him to dedicate himself to community work, Krishankumar said: "When a situation like this comes up, you realise there is no meaning in money. I invested everything I made into my son, and that had crashed in front of my eyes. He was a third-year medical student at the University of Manchester in the UK and had returned home for a vacation when the accident took place. Since then, I have been involved in a lot of social activities. If I do not do this, there is no meaning to my existence."

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Krishnakumar said the group has supported thousands of individuals in need of help. "We supported unemployed people with several hundred bags of grocery kits and other necessary items. We also supported Covid-19 patients by transferring them to the medical facility in Warsan, etc.," he said.

"I come from a very middle-class family. I got a scholarship to study in college, and I studied with the help of taxpayers' money. I have always wanted to give back to society. I have grown immensely in life and now is my time to give back.," he added.

Krishnakumar also sponsors the education of over 1,000 academically gifted school children in Kerala's government-aided schools. He is a life trustee at the College of Engineering Trivandrum Alumni Galaxy Charitable Trust and an active participant towards various educational causes.

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Dubai: NRI student Ahmed Ziyad who died after CBSE Grade 12 exams scores top marks

News Network
July 18,2020

Dubai, July 18: An NRI student who passed away in Dubai shortly after shortly after attempting his Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Grade 12 papers in March, has scored an impressive 91.4 per cent on his board examinations, including 100 in his media studies paper.

Ahmed Ziyad, a student of GEMS Our Own Indian School in Al Qouz, Dubai, died on March 19, suffered a heart condition called Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) that stopped him from being active in sporting activities.

Ziyad's parents, teachers, and classmates remember him as a very ambitious pupil, who wanted to launch his own business and achieve great things in his life. His board results are - mass media studies 100, Marketing 97, English 84, Entrepreneurship 82, and Home Science 94.
 
Ziyad's father, Shanavaz Manangath, a real estate professional who has been a resident of Dubai for over two decades said, "Six months ago, he had collapsed while playing with his friends. Since there was an irregularity in his heartbeat, he could not take part in any strenuous activities." He added, "Ziyad had just started playing with his friends on March 19 when he suddenly collapsed and died shortly after. My family has not been able to overcome his loss."

Unable to hold back his tears, an emotional Manangath said Ziyad wanted to do his BBA and launch his own business, "He was very ambitious. Honestly, I haven't looked into his board exam results, but, I know he had studied very hard for the exams."

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