Dubai’s biggest bank Emirates NBD has given most employees a pay rise of up to 8% to help cushion against rising costs of living driven by inflation, two sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters.
The increases varied according to seniority and were part of a mid-cycle salary adjustment for inflation, with top executives receiving smaller or no increases, the sources said.
Most employees received a pay rise of between 5% and 8%, with lower-paid staff receiving the biggest increase, one of the sources, who has direct knowledge of the matter, said.
Emirates NBD, majority owned by Dubai’s government, said it did not comment on staff-related matters.
“As a people-first organization and a leading employer, Emirates NBD has remained committed to initiatives and policies that support staff well-being, while adopting a robust employee recognition program,” a spokesperson added in an emailed response to a Reuters query.
It was not immediately clear if the salary increases were only for employees in the country. The bank also has operations in Egypt, India, Turkey and elsewhere.
Annual inflation in the oil-producing Gulf state reached 3.4% in the first quarter, according to the central bank, which has projected 5.6% inflation for the year. The UAE has not published monthly inflation figures this year.
The trajectory of price increases represents a significant turnaround from deflation throughout 2019, 2020 and the first seven months of 2021.
In recent months people have voiced concerns over increasing living costs in the UAE, with retail fuel prices now up around 55% so far this year, falling from a high of about 80%.
The UAE is the only Gulf Arab country without a cap on domestic fuel prices, leading to petrol costs surging at the pump.
Dubai average rental prices for apartments and townhouses rose by 29% and 33% in the first half of the year and for villas by 64%, according to Betterhomes, as the property market continued a strong post-pandemic recovery.
Emirates NBD in late July reported a 42% jump in second quarter profit to 3.5 billion dirhams ($952.98 million).
The Central Bank of the UAE has increased its base rate a cumulative 225 basis points since March in parallel with the US Federal Reserve, because its currency is pegged to the dollar, as central banks globally battle historic inflation.
InsurTech company Wellx straps on free Fitbit for UAE residents
UAE’s insurance platform Wellx has partnered with Fitbit to encourage insurees to stay healthy throughout the year while covering them with a policy linked to their well-being.
Wellx plans to connect their platform with the API of Fitbit, Google’s fitness wearable company, and have access to activity data upon user consent to enable them to set fitness goals and unlock rewards while achieving them.
Founded in 2021, Wellx is an insurtech company which combines digital medical insurance and wellness. The startup is also part of the DIFC Fintech Hive’s 2022 Accelerator Programme.
“Our association with Fitbit will enable us to turn a traditional financial product into an engaging lifestyle product by gamifying the individual wellness journey,” said Vaibhav Kashyap, Wellx co-founder & CEO. “By incentivising our customers to care for themselves, and rewarding them financially, we expect to change the way customers perceive insurance. Our aim is to become their everyday health companions and remind them of the benefits of staying healthy.” Javed Akberali is Kashyap’s founding partner at Wellx.
Wellx has brought together an ecosystem of wellness-focused services and products, with the singular goal of making insurance fun, engaging and impactful.
“By associating with locally grown companies whose prime focus is health & wellbeing of people of UAE, we at Fitbit are supporting our bigger mission of helping everyone in the world become healthier. Through this association, Wellx customers will be able to get even the recently announced Fitbit smartwatches & trackers including Sense 2, Versa 4 and Inspire 3, that feature some most advanced wellness capabilities; these devices will enable users to have a holistic view of their health and wellness.” said David Amehame, Regional Sales Manager, Middle East & Africa, Fitbit at Google.
Nicola Maxwell, Head of Fitbit Health Solutions EMEA, said: “This association shows how Fitbit can help to support innovation in health tech in the region. Over the years, Fitbit has worked globally with leading health insurers to promote healthy behaviour change. We’re happy to collaborate with Wellx here in the UAE to support them on their journey to launch unique insurance plans that will provide lifestyle benefits when customers achieve their health and wellness targets – tracked by Fitbit devices.”
You can sign up for an insurance plan with Wellx digitally using any web browser or smartphone on www.wellxai.com.
Indian cricket board starts bid process for women’s IPL teams
The Indian cricket board (BCCI) on Tuesday invited bids for the right to “own and operate” teams in the first ever women’s Indian Premier League (IPL).
In December, the BCCI also floated tenders for the women’s league’s media rights for the 2023-27 cycle.
“The Governing Council of the IPL invites bids from reputed entities to acquire the right to own and operate a team in Women’s Indian Premier League, through a tender process,” the BCCI said in a statement.
“The (Invitation to Tender) will be available for purchase till January 21, 2023.”
The inaugural season of the women’s IPL is likely to be played from March 3-26, an ESPNcricinfo report said in December.
A three-team Women’s T20 Challenge had been staged alongside the men’s IPL since 2018, but the BCCI have been urged to set up an expanded tournament for women with more teams and players.
The Indian board also decided to give equal pay rights to the women cricketers, it announced in October last year.
India’s men and women cricket teams will be paid the same appearance fees to represent their country, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Secretary Jay Shah said on Thursday.
The agreement will see women’s players at international level receive the same match fees as men across all formats – 1,500,000 rupees ($18,225) for Tests, 600,000 rupees for one-day internationals and 300,000 for Twenty20 internationals. However, the retainer fees remain in stark contrast to their male counterparts.
Australia hosts the Women’s Big Bash League as its domestic T20 league, while New Zealand has the Women’s Super Smash.
England hold the ‘The Hundred’ tournament for women alongside the men’s competition.
Huge interest for Women's IPL 🏏🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/zkmkfUkjQl
— CricketGully (@thecricketgully) January 2, 2023
La Liga in JV with e-sports company for Middle East and India
LaLiga, Spain’s top-flight football league, and Galaxy Racer (GXR), the world’s largest esports, gaming and lifestyle organisation, today signed a 15-year Joint Venture (JV) which will transform the Spanish league’s brand’s presence in the Middle East and North Africa region and Indian subcontinent.
The JV establishes an historic first for the world of sports rights in the territories and positions GXR as LaLiga’s local partner in the MENA and Indian subcontinent markets. The deal is expected to generate more than €3 billion in revenue. LaLiga and GXR will each hold a 50 per cent stake in the JV.
With more than 1.3 billion people under the age of 30 in the two markets, the deal will provide LaLiga with new ways to grow its brand and reach new audiences. It will also grant broadcast and media rights in MENA and Indian subcontinent, boosting viewership of LaLiga matches in the 29 countries in which the JV is in effect.
LaLiga teams with @GalaxyRacerDxb to transform the sports media scene in MENA region and Indian subcontinent… ⤵️
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) December 9, 2022
This is an especially important time for football in the region, as Qatar hosts the first Fifa World Cup competition ever to be held in the Arab world. More than five billion people worldwide are expected to watch the tournament.
Paul Roy, CEO & Founder of Galaxy Racer, said: “The agreement marks the dawn of a new era of football in the region. Our collaboration with LaLiga offers us a novel way to share its intellectual property with GXR’s 500 million-strong global audience.”
Maite Ventura, LaLiga’s Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “Partnering with Galaxy Racer in the MENA region and Indian subcontinent is of great strategic importance to the LaLiga brand and its continued expansion in these critical markets.
GXR’s extensive experience in the region will also serve as an important source of support towards our international strategy. The Middle East is growing as a dedicated sports hub and the Fifa World Cup in Qatar now is the best example of the power of the sport.”
The JV will see collaboration with LaLiga representatives in Morocco, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, India, and the UAE, which is essential in achieving true regional development.
Galaxy Racer and LaLiga are already collaborating on a number of projects, including a documentary series, competitions, merchandise, live events, and activations.
Additionally, GXR will launch a roster of influencers who will focus exclusively on LaLiga and curate creator events to promote the LaLiga brand throughout the whole year.