Abu Dhabi scraps 20,000 requirements for business set-up to attract investors

The move aims to promote investment and improve ease of doing business in the UAE capital

Morning skyline of the UAE's capital. Abu Dhabi is taking proactive steps to facilitate ease of doing business and attract more investments. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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Abu Dhabi has removed more than 20,000 requirements to set up businesses in the emirate as part of an ongoing overhaul of procedures led by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

The department, also known as Added, is seeking to attract more investment and improve the ease of doing business.

Twenty-six local and federal partner entities participated in the reductions programme, which amounted to 71 per cent of the total 28,788 requirements previously in place, Added said on Wednesday. The programme was first introduced in August.

"We are telling the world that Abu Dhabi will continuously seek to enhance its regulations, systems and services making up the ecosystem necessary for any businesses and investors to thrive," said Rashed Al Blooshi, undersecretary of Added.

"In Abu Dhabi, public institutions play a proactive role in providing an accommodating environment for business and investment, and this is something we will continue to do as we transform the emirate’s economy.”

Abu Dhabi has taken various measures – such as providing rent rebates, discounts on utility bills and loan guarantee packages – to support businesses and stimulate economic growth throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, Abu Dhabi slashed business set-up fees by 94 per cent in a move to strengthen its position as a destination for new ventures and boost foreign direct investment into the emirate.

The emirate's move to cancel thousands of business set-up requirements aligns its regulations with its priorities for economic growth, Added said.

The department reduced its own business licensing requirements for the 118 business activities that it regulates, cutting them by 77 per cent to 162.

"The government of Abu Dhabi’s decision to reduce the combined commercial activities licence requirements demonstrates its readiness to take practical steps wherever necessary to promote the emirate’s competitiveness regionally and globally," Mr Al Blooshi said.

Among the 26 government entities participating in the initiative led by Added, the Department of Municipalities and Transport’s Public Health sector reduced requirements by 95 per cent to 511, covering 1,215 activities. The DMT's Transport sector decreased its requirements by 78 per cent to 115.

The Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority reduced its list by 74 per cent to 1,716 requirements, covering 288 activities. The Abu Dhabi Sports Council cut by 91 per cent, to 82 requirements covering 58 activities. The Department of Health slashed by 56 per cent, to 672 requirements covering 84 activities. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Police decreased by 79 per cent to 80 requirements.

The Securities and Commodities Authority made 40 cuts to 700 requirements.

"Our ongoing efforts toward facilitating an optimal business-friendly marketplace are testament to our goal of attracting innovative global talents from all sectors and industries, thus reinforcing a strong knowledge-based economy," Sameh Al Qubaisi, executive director of Added's Executive Affairs Office, said.

"Other incentives we introduced include fee reductions, and these efforts combined will strengthen Abu Dhabi's global position as a business-friendly destination," he said.

To boost its non-oil-economy and support businesses, especially SMEs, Abu Dhabi unveiled the Dh50 billion ($13.6bn) Ghadan initiative. It also introduced visa reforms geared to attract more investors.

In 2020, the government also detailed a plan to stimulate economic growth through strategic investments and 16 initiatives to support the private sector.

Updated: January 26, 2022, 2:23 PM