Almost half of UAE residents are worried that they will not be able to afford the increased cost of living brought about by the country’s implementation of value-added tax (VAT).This was concluded through a survey from yallacompare, one of the leading comparison sites in the Middle East.
The survey, conducted in December 2017, polled nearly 200 UAE residents, and found that 44.6% are worried about not being able to afford the increased cost of living as a result of VAT being added to products. Over half (51.8%) said they were slightly worried about the increased cost of living, but are confident they won’t feel many effects.
Just 3.6% said that they aren’t worried at all about prices going up as a result of VAT. “The introduction of VAT is clearly a positive step for the UAE to take as it continues to diversify its economy away from oil. However, it appears that large numbers of UAE residents are simply considering VAT as an additional expense to be dealt with in the short term,” said Jonathan Rawling, CFO of yallacompare.
“The fact that the introduction of VAT should result in a more stable economy overall has perhaps been lost on many people. But once the initial shock of consumer prices rising has worn off, we believe that the other benefits of VAT – such as improved government services and greater business confidence – should be clear to the majority of residents,” Rawling added.
Indeed, even in the short term, UAE residents may be better off than they might think. A large chunk may believe that the increased cost of living will be too much to bear, but yallacompare’s survey found that 62.5% expect a salary raise in 2018.
This suggests increased confidence about the ability to financially thrive in the UAE in 2018. According to the survey, 32.1% of UAE residents put off a big purchase – such as a car or a house – in 2017. Of these, though, 39% will make a big purchase in 2018 – despite the fact that VAT may now apply to that purchase. And of those who did not put off a big purchase last year, 40% expect to make one this year.
Jobs-wise, UAE residents are equally as confident, perhaps suggesting that there is an understanding of the benefits of implementing VAT. Over 80% of respondents said they are confident of keeping their job in 2018.