Dubai-UAE: 2 May, 2018 – Noor Bank, one of the leading Shari’a-compliant banks in the UAE, today announced the launch of the Noor Business Council (NBC), which is a thought leadership platform.
Bringing together SMEs and large corporate clients of Noor Bank, the NBC has been designed to serve as a platform to discuss topics relevant to the business landscape, including trends and economic policies, their practical implementation, as well as the day-to-day challenges impacting clients with a view to achieving actionable solutions.
Atiq Juma Nasib, Senior Vice President - Commercial Services, Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, inaugurated the first forum of the newly formed council, in the presence of more than 100 customers, experts and representatives of the executive management of Noor Bank.
In his keynote address, Atiq Juma Nasib said: “Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry is honoured to inaugurate the launch of the Noor Business Council, which provides an important platform for knowledge sharing and constructive dialogue on timely matters facing the business community. As a representative of Dubai’s private sector, the Chamber lends its support to various business councils and groups in the emirate with the aim of creating a favourable environment where companies can address their concerns and share their recommendations. I am confident that the Noor Business Council and its members will achieve great things, foster cooperation within the banking sector and make a lasting contribution to Dubai’s knowledge-based economy.”
Speaking at the event, John Iossifidis, CEO of Noor Bank, said: “The Noor Business Council is one key way we are creating an ecosystem where our customers are at the centre of all that we do. The Council is a newly created thought leadership platform that brings together our most important stakeholder, our customers, who are entrepreneurs, business managers and decision makers of big and small corporates, alongside sector experts and senior industry officials, as well as our own staff, to discuss and debate key topics of mutual interest — topics that are timely, and address concerns of our customers and partners.
I am pleased that we chose Value Added Tax as our first theme. It is relevant and enables the participants to understand the impact that the introduction of taxation has had so far on everyday business dealings as well as on long-term economic growth.”
As part of the launch event, the NBC convened a panel discussion dedicated to Value Added Tax (VAT), to explore the current state and impact on SMEs and large corporates. At the completion of 100 days, since it came into effect at the start of the year, the UAE Federal Tax Authority said in April that the country had achieved 98.8 per cent VAT compliance, with around 275,000 companies registered, with 2,160 applications pending. Businesses, which missed the earlier December deadline, were given April 30 to register for VAT to avoid administrative penalties.
The NBC discussion drew the participation of Aamer Bhatti, Financial Services VAT Leader, Middle East Indirect Tax Practice, Deloitte; Dounia Fadi, Chief Executive Officer, MD Properties LLC; Ashwini Gupta, Head of Finance Operations for UAE, Bahrain and Oman at Americana; and Ehsaan Ahmed, Head of GTS and Corporate Strategy, Corporate Banking, Noor Bank.
According to Aamer Bhatti, “Businesses have been busy over the last few months ensuring they are managing VAT and are able to meet their VAT obligations accordingly. For many businesses, implementation of VAT has led to a change in systems and introduction of new processes and controls to ensure effective management of VAT. Business that are able to update their systems for VAT implementation will also benefit from additional information being available to support their business.”
Talking about the impact of VAT on SMEs, Dounia Fadi said: “[From our perspective] the introduction of VAT in the UAE fortunately has had a limited impact on SMEs. However, it does require great attention to details, for which a proper accounting software need to be deployed to make sure that all accounting records are recorded and up to date and most of all to build a discipline around managing the company’s cash flow so that the funds are available when it is time for the VAT to be filed and paid.”
The Noor Business Council aims to organise a quarterly thought leadership forum to achieve three core objectives, namely, to support the government’s vision to make the UAE a leading commercial and financial hub, support the local business community by addressing its issues and educating key stakeholders on the current issues facing the banking sector, and strengthen collaborations with government entities while helping customers to connect with them. Through achieving these objectives, Noor Bank seeks to fulfil its wider strategic goal of positioning itself as a preferred partner of choice.