‘Giv­ing back to the peo­ple is a mark of any great so­ci­ety’

The National - News - - EMIRATES NEWS - Ramola Tal­war Badam

Busi­nesses should read­ily ex­tend a hand to dis­ad­van­taged peo­ple, com­pany own­ers said yes­ter­day.

“This is the mark of any great so­ci­ety, when eco­nomic ac­tors par­tic­i­pate in the bet­ter­ment of cit­i­zens and res­i­dents’ lives,” said Hamza Zaouli, head of Iris Ex­ec­u­tives, a re­cruit­ment firm that spe­cialises in Emi­rati­sa­tion.

Such fund­ing could change the lives of fam­i­lies that can­not af­ford to pay school fees, he said. “I think com­pany sup­port for their em­ploy­ees’ chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion cost could have im­mense longterm ben­e­fits to UAE so­ci­ety,” Mr Zaouli said.

This week, the Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity said com­pa­nies will be of­fered gov­ern­ment guid­ance on how to kick-start cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity pro­grammes.

De­tails about the amount of cor­po­rate so­cial spend­ing com­pa­nies could ear­mark for char­ity will be an­nounced be­fore the year-end.

As con­tri­bu­tions to so­cial ser­vices were the norm for many com­pany own­ers in their home coun­tries, Mr Zaouli said the ini­tia­tive would not come as a shock to many. Still, change should be grad­ual if there were plans to make this manda­tory, he said.

“The UAE mar­ket needs to re­main at­trac­tive to em­ploy­ers and be­fore adding more taxes, com­pa­nies will need to first di­gest the re­cent changes like VAT, com­pul­sory med­i­cal in­sur­ances. These changes are great but to al­low com­pa­nies to adapt and thrive with these changes, time needs to be part of the equa­tion,” Mr Zaouli said.

For­mal­is­ing the pro­ce­dure was the right step, com­pany own­ers said.

“The Gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tive to give guide­lines to peo­ple is fan­tas­tic,” said Suren­der Kand­hari, chairman of the Al Dobowi Group, an au­to­mo­tive com­pany. “Peo­ple need to have a holis­tic ap­proach to liv­ing rather than to just make money. Peo­ple like us who have the ca­pac­ity to look after oth­ers should come for­ward and do it.”

Mr Kand­hari, the founder of the Sikh gur­d­wara in Dubai, has been a long-time con­trib­u­tor to com­mu­nity ini­tia­tives and sup­plies work­ers’ camps with food and es­sen­tial goods.

Just as Mus­lims are ex­pected to pay za­kat, in Sikhism, daswandh refers to a re­li­gious duty to give 10 per cent back to so­ci­ety. “It should be done with love. You shouldn’t talk about it and you should give more than you are asked,” he said.

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