Dubai offers emirate’s top dieters $5,400 in gold coins for weight loss

DUBAI – Dubai’s government will pay residents in gold for losing those extra pounds as part of a government campaign to fight growing obesity in the Gulf Arab emirate.

he 30-day weight-loss challenge was launched on Friday to coincide with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when the faithful refrain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.

Many eat too much after breaking the fast, tucking into traditional dishes loaded with fat and sugar that can push their daily calorie intake well above levels outside of Ramadan.

For every kilogram dropped by August 16, contestants who register from Friday can walk away with a gram of gold, currently worth about $42, Dubai’s civic authority announced as part of its ‘Your Weight in Gold’ initiative.

The top three dieters can win gold coins worth up to 20,000 dirhams ($5,400). The contestant has to lose a minimum 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) to qualify for the contest.

“Participant must have excess weight to reduce and stay away from unhealthy methods to lose weight and should be present on the final day to measure weight,” Dubai Municipality said in a press release.

Health officials in Dubai, the commercial hub of the United Arab Emirates, and in neighboring Gulf nations, are spending millions to control obesity among their citizens.

Oil wealth and high household incomes have led to overeating, high-sugar diets and a heavy reliance on cars for getting around, leading to an explosion of diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses.

Five of the 10 countries where diabetes is most prevalent are in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), an umbrella organization of more than 200 national associations.

Dubai is known for its larger-than-life offers. It has a history of giving away luxury cars and yachts in lucky draws and is home to one the largest gold markets in the region. The emirate even has gold vending machines in shopping malls. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams)


Tinapa is gold mine in waiting

Frank Umeh a lawyer and Managing Director, Tradewinds Duty Free Market, Tinapa Free Trade zone, Calabar, in this interview offers insights into how the Tinapa free trade will be successful. He said he believes that Tinapa is a viable project and everyone should be thinking of how to make it do better than it is doing presently.


How would you describe doing business in Tinapa?

Tinapa is a relatively new chapter in business in this clime. It is like a breath of fresh air. Tinapa is the only free trade zone in Nigeria today that is engaged in trade in finished goods. The trade in Tinapa involved importing goods from outside the country for onward distribution to either the local market or outside Nigeria. If you have customers from other countries outside Nigeria coming into Tinapa to buy, it becomes a form that Dubai takes. You have Nigerians going to Dubai to import goods into Nigeria.

In Tinapa, we have customers from different countries like Cameroun and even from the Equatorial Guinea coming in to do shopping. Then for the local economy, Nigerians come to Tinapa to make their purchases. Anytime you visit Tinapa, it is assumed that you have left the country. Trade in Tinapa has been good; it has been wonderful but it could be better.

What is your take on the operation of free trade zones in this country?

I have been a keen observer of the development in Tinapa free trade zone since it was commissioned. And my training as a lawyer is a leverage in the essence that one understands the legal framework involved. I have read several gazettes of other free trade zones within and outside this clime. I have travelled to Dubai and I have also heard much about the operations of the Dubai free trade zone.

When the Tinapa law was signed by the late President Umar Yar’Adua in 2009, I took time to read through the law and I saw the enormous potential and opportunity that Tinapa has for any serious trader that really wants to excel beyond the identified hiccups and difficulties in logistics in the importation of goods into the zone then.

I have read the law of Tinapa back to back and, therefore, conversant with the procedure. So, it’s been more of learning and practice. I believe that one needs to constantly update his knowledge in any field of endeavour he is into because when you stop reading, you start dying.

What informed your uncommon optimism that Tinapa free trade zone would be viabe?

I have studied the Tinapa project and I have come to the conclusion that it is a sound concept. The Free Zone was actually created to meet a need that had been identified.

Government didn’t just set up this zone for the sake of setting up a zone. But like every new concept, there are bound to be challenges especially in a unique environment like ours. For me, failure is not an option in this matter. Instead of asking if Tinapa will succeed or not, we should be thinking of how to make it successful even beyond the expectation of those behind it.

The targeted issue should be on how Tinapa can meet the needs for which it was established. And when you talk about those needs, you talk about the quality of goods, the manufacturers’ interest to look into the Nigerian trade, the image of the country, the collateral interests of the investors, the businessmen and the customers.

It should also be noted that there should be a three-fold approach to it: short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. So, I believe that Tinapa is a viable project and we have what it takes to make it do better than it is doing presently. And one step of ensuring success is through structural funding.

I’ve said it elsewhere that it’s not the kind of loan that you get from the bank. It’s a long-term funding plan; fund plan that that will make it attractive for the manufacturers to turn Tinapa into the primary market. From importing goods, manufacturers will come into Tinapa.

One advantage Tinapa has is that unlike UAE, which is all desert, and people must fly in to do business in Dubai, Tinapa is easily accessible. Tinapa is gold mine waiting to be tapped. I am passionate about getting the place to work because it will address the vicious cycle of economic, social and moral distress plaguing the country.

What is the attraction of doing business with you in Tinapa?

Some of the things we flaunt include capacity, integrity, knowledge, experience, quality and price of our goods. Our operation is beyond mere buying and selling. To start with, I have integrity to relate with you as a business person or customer. We have a commercial sales space of 10,000, an equivalent of two football fields put together. We know where those goods can be sourced. We provide logistics administration for all transit clearing services. We offer 24-hour trade services 356 days in a year.

In other words, Tradewinds do not sleep. We bring in goods that we consider to be of good quality and sell at a cheap price. In fact, we do discount sales on daily basis.

We believe in turnover rather than profit margin; we are content with marginal profit. Again, if you have problem with those goods, you have a window of returning it and we take it back from you. We offer efficient after – sales support framework, goods transport/ haulage deliver services, comprehensive insurance on all inland container haulage services from Onne Sea Port, Rivers State to Tinapa; trained and equipped security service staff; warehousing facility in Tinapa with storage capacity of over 300 tons containers; international subsidiary offices in UAE, China, Turkey and USA; highly experienced and dedicated management team; rescue operation vehicles for containers on inland transit; trade academy and practical training and mentorship for young people coming into business. Being where we are and doing what we are doing, we are operating at such levels that we can be compared with any other international entity in terms of how they do their business – the efficiency and know-how.


Gold glitters as leading export from the UAE

04-Feb (The National) — Gold helped to lift the UAE’s exports by 45 per cent in the first seven months of last year with the precious metal accounting for more than half of the value of the non-oil goods exiting the country.

Total exports reached Dh94.7 billion (US$25.78bn), up from Dh65bn in the same period of last year, data released by the Federal Customs Authority last week showed.

Gold accounted for Dh52.8bn of that amount, far higher than the next most valuable export, polymers, which made up Dh4.3bn.

The metal’s dominance in trade reflects the rise in prices. Prices finished 7 per cent higher last year, the 12th year in a row of rises. Still the gain was the smallest yearly one since 2008.

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