November 2014

IT security fatigue ‘widespread in UAE’

HEIGHTENED IT security risks caused by a culture of employee complacency are widespread in the UAE, a report said, adding that people expect the company’s security settings to take care of daily threats.

An increasing number of employees feel that security policies are inhibiting innovation and collaboration, and are making it harder for them to do their job effectively – to the point where some employees take steps to circumvent the policy, added the latest UAE workplace Security research findings by Cisco and Gulf Business Machines (GBM).

The research shows that there is an urgent need to evolve security policies so that they continue to provide the best possible defence to attack from outside the organisation while simultaneously adapting to different types of employee behaviour.

Employee behaviour (57 per cent) was second only to organised cybercrime (61 per cent) when employees were asked to identify the top two greatest sources of risk to data security. All of those surveyed use their company’s network for personal transactions – the most popular was personal banking (74 per cent) closely followed by travel bookings and online shopping (63 per cent).

The survey revealed that 41 per cent of people expect their company’s security settings to protect them from any risk; while (46 per cent) believe it is either the company’s or a joint responsibility to keep personal and company data safe. Over half (52 per cent) seem so insulated from the true extent of threats that they think their behaviour has low to moderate impact on security.

While 66 per cent of employees thought their company had a security policy, 14 per cent did not know if there was one or not. Over half, 52 per cent said they weren’t bothered about the policy in any event as it didn’t affect what they do and, 35 per cent said they only notice one exists when they are stopped from doing something by the security settings.


UAE’s 2015 budget at $13.36bn

THE UAE Cabinet has adopted the draft union budget for 2015 which envisages an expenditure of Dh49.1 billion ($13.36 billion), an increase of Dh2.9 billion (6.3 per cent) compared to the financial year 2014.

UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said that the federal budget for 2015 will go towards health, education and social services, as well as developing government services for citizens.

A breakdown of government expenditures showed that social development and social benefits sector received Dh24 billion or 49 per cent of the total budget, while Dh20 billion (41 per cent) went to the government sector, a WAM news agency report said.

The budget allocated Dh1.8 billion (3.7 per cent) to the infrastructure and economic sector, Dh1.6 billion (3.2 per cent) to financial assets and Dh1 billion (2.1 per cent) to federal spending.


GCC petchem sector creates 600,000 jobs

THE petrochemical and chemical industry, along with its supporting sectors, in the Arabian Gulf region employed over half a million people through direct and indirect jobs in 2013, according to new data released by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA).

The petrochemical and chemical industry in the Gulf region directly employed 148,900, according to the GPCA.

An additional 446,700 direct and indirect jobs were created by supporting industries, bringing the total number of jobs that rely on the downstream hydrocarbon industry in the Gulf to 595,600 in 2013.

Strengthened by a rapidly expanding petrochemical sector and multi-billion dollar investments, Saudi Arabia’s petrochemical industry employed directly 83,700 people, accounting for over half of the Gulf’s petrochemical industry’s workforce.

The UAE is the region’s second largest market in terms of people, employing 38,100 professionals, just over 25 per cent of the region’s chemical employees.  

Employment statistics in the region show that for the GCC petrochemical industry, the multiplier effect is around 1:3, as every 10 jobs directly created by the sector leads to an additional 30 indirect employment opportunities in the chemicals supply chain.   

Dr Abdulwahab Al Sadoun, secretary general, GPCA, said: “In 2013, the development of petrochemicals created a ripple effect that was responsible for more than half a million jobs in the GCC, resulting in the manufacture of over $102 billion worth of products. Petrochemicals is evolving into an industry that touches nearly every sector of the GCC economy, from supply chain, equipment manufacturing, construction and agriculture to retail and trade.”   

Petrochemicals are now the region’s second largest manufacturing sector in terms of contribution to GDP and the largest manufacturing employer, after metals, minerals and the food industry.


Bahrain records 5.6pc economic growth

BAHRAIN recorded an overall GDP growth of 5.6 per cent in the second quarter (Q2) of 2014, when compared to the same period a year earlier, according to a new report issued by the Economic Development Board (EDB).

The latest Bahrain Economic Quarterly (BEQ) also revealed that Q2 2014 GDP growth reached 3.2 per cent in comparison to the first quarter of 2014, with the total GDP growth of the year 2014 expected to reach about 3.7 per cent.

In addition, the report highlighted the important contribution of the oil and non-oil sectors to the overall robust economic growth. The non-oil sector grew by 4.7 per cent year-on-year during Q2 2014, while the oil sector registered 9.3 per cent growth. When compared to the previous quarter, the non-oil sector registered a rise of 3.0 per cent and the oil sector registered a rise of 4.1 per cent.

Dr Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economist at the EDB, said: “The quarterly report underlines the significant contribution of a number of key sectors to overall GDP growth. It also highlights the major role played by big projects in boosting sentiment and fostering the economic capabilities in Bahrain. Together, these factors play an important role in diversifying the national economy.”

The report also revealed that the hotels and restaurants as well as the transport and communications sectors were among the key drivers of growth within the non-oil economy for Q2 2014, where growth exceeded 10 per cent in each of these sectors, continuing the strong Q1 momentum. Social and personal services experienced growth of around 8 per cent year-on-year.

Strong performance was also registered in the transport and communications sector, which grew by almost 6 per cent.

In the aftermath of protest disturbances in 2011, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Economic Development Board have been making strenuous efforts to bring in foreign investments to maintain and enhance the industrial and business tempo.

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