UAE: Dubai billionaire calls for banks to remain open during long holidays

Transactions could be completed through online platforms and ATMs but they are limited


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Mon 15 Apr 2024, 11:59 AM

Last updated: Mon 15 Apr 2024, 11:18 PM

A Dubai billionaire has called for banks to remain open during long holidays as their closure causes “direct harm” to customers and the commercial sector.

Khalaf Al Habtoor, founder and chairman of Al Habtoor Group, said the closure of the banks affects customers in different ways such as difficulty in completing financial transactions, cashing an urgent cheque and others.

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Al Habtoor took to social media platform X to highlight the issue as banks were closed last week during the Eid Al Fitr break. The public sector and some private companies enjoyed up to 9-day holidays during Eid, the longest holiday this year.

However, as reported by Khaleej Times earlier, some companies in the UAE were closed in entirety but the majority had some form of operations ongoing during the entire 9-day-long Eid break.

“I fully realise that official holidays are a right for all employees, whether they are in the public or private sector, but this does not necessarily mean that everyone should close their doors. Some vital sectors and places cannot be closed even for one hour, let alone for three or four days," Al Habtoor said.

"There are many examples of this, such as airports, hospitals, and even hotels, etc. They have their systems so that employees take turns working, and the institution or entity they work for provides its necessary services to customers around the clock,” he added.

A well-known philanthropist, Al Habtoor recently hit the headlines for arranging and financially supporting Afghan girls to complete their higher education in Dubai.

Employing thousands of people, Al Habtoor Group is one of the largest family-owned businesses in the UAE with interests in hospitality, automotive, car leasing, real estate, education and publishing.

He said banking is one of the vital and necessary sectors in Dubai where commercial, tourism and financial activity does not subside.

“This sector, with its many different banks, cannot close its doors during official holidays. Because this causes direct harm to customers and the commercial sector. This damage may come in the form of difficulty completing a financial transaction, cashing an urgent check, withdrawing a large sum of money to complete a deal, completing the sale or purchase of an important property, or other commercial transactions that never stop in Dubai thanks to the booming movement and economic activities.”

He added that transactions could be completed through online platforms and ATMs but they’re limited and often do not meet businesses needs.


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