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