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Wed 25 Mar 2020 02:19 PM

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UAE remittance group calls for exchange house openings in malls

Osama Al Rahma says partial closure of branches will lead to increased congestion at other sites

UAE remittance group calls for exchange house openings in malls

FERG represents more than 70 exchange houses in the UAE.

The vice-chairman of the Foreign Exchange Remittance Group (FERG) has called on authorities to open up exchange houses across Dubai.

Osama Al Rahma, who is also CEO of Al Fardan Exchange, said a directive from officials allowing exchange houses to operate normally is “the need of the hour”.

It was announced earlier this week by the UAE Government that all shopping malls and markets would be closed, with the exception of supermarkets and pharmacies.

According to media reports, outlets that aren’t in malls remain open but Al Rahma has called for those in shopping malls to be given the same exemption and said he is awaiting official confirmation from the government.

The closures are part of widespread measures aimed at reducing large gatherings of people and the threat of the deadly Covid-19 spreading.

However, Al Rahma said: “A number of low-income workers rely on this network of exchange houses to receive salaries. We do understand that a high level of hygiene and social distancing precautions need to be taken given the current situation, but we also need to find a solution to address the needs of the customers as well.

“The partial closure of exchange houses is not recommended as it might create congestion in other branches, defeating the purpose of social distancing and personal hygiene.

“We need to facilitate order at the branches and instil confidence among workers to ensure that they will be able to withdraw their salaries on time.”

FERG represents more than 70 exchange houses in the UAE.

Expat remittances from the UAE dropped by 2.5 percent in 2019 compared to the previous year.

According to figures released by the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE), AED165 million was sent back to various countries last year, compared to AED169.2m in 2018.

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