Not my country

Traffic is a serious problem in Dubai and the local Roads and Transportation Authority tries to figure out how tackle it. Now they've come up with a solution - introducing road tax. That means that you have to pay some money (4 dirhams, a bit over 1$) when you use certain roads at a certain time.

I was listening to a radio show the other day where people could call in and voice their opinions. You could see the remarkable difference between the locals (UAE nationals) and expatriates. The latter were mostly saying it is not right for various reasons (like no alternative routes or means of transportation) and the locals were saying 'What a good idea! I am happy to give money for my country'.

That captures it. Most of the population (~80%) are expatriates, have no emotional ties with the country and don't consider it as their own. Now UAE is starting to introduce different kinds of taxes slowly and expats don't like it one single bit. Of course they don't have any rights as well, no say in how things are being run in the country, emirates or city.

UAE nationals feel invaded. They have been taken over. And when they heard on the radio that expats don't want to pay any taxes what so ever to their motherland, its is understandable they get pissed. Quite many of them said "if you don't like it, leave!".

You can hear/read everywhere that a large group of the expat population (especially westerners) considers leaving UAE when they introduce taxes as this was one of the reasons to move here in the first place (tax-free country). The cost of living is very high as it is.

Since UAE is an expat country by nature (built by them, can't function without them), it should consider how to create more dialogue with the expats, giving them some form of participation.

This would mean of course first steps towards democracy and involve a bigger shake-up in the current way of running things.

No comments: