Emirati billionaire and chairman of Al Habtoor Group, Khalaf Al Habtoor, has urged the UAE’s leadership to “reconsider” the 5 percent value-added tax (VAT) among other fees as he claims they are driving away foreign investors in a time of economic difficulties in the Gulf.
He said on his official Twitter account that that waiving taxes and certain fees are essential as regional economic and political difficulties have instilled fear in foreign investors. The VAT was introduced in the UAE in January 2018.
“Our region is undergoing political conditions that affect the overall economic climate in our region, which have instilled fear in investors around the UAE and Dubai. In light of this, I urge our leadership to reconsider some of the laws, practices and fees imposed, as that will have a positive effect on the economy.
“…it’s important to reconsider canceling a wide number of fees and taxes imposed, first of all, the VAT, since its benefits do not make up for the caution and reluctance it has instilled in investors. There are increasing calls to reconsider these taxes and fees,” he said on Twitter.
Al Habtoor also said authorities must put an end to the “monopolistic mentality” of UAE telecommunication companies if Dubai seeks to become a smart city, calling for the lifting of the ban on free audio and video calls on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) apps Skype and WhatsApp, which are currently banned in the UAE.
“…we have to allow free audio and video calls through WhatsApp, Skype and other applications in order to ease the lives of residents and investors. This is one of the services we should provide if we seek to become a smart city. We have to stop the monopolistic mentality of our telecommunication companies,” he said.