The number of companies operating out of Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Industrial Zone (Kizad) more than doubled in the last 12 months on the back of new government policies aimed at boosting investment into the emirate, a senior Kizad executive said.
"Currently, we have 600 tenants including small and medium enterprise [SMEs], and big industries. The number has more than doubled in the last one year due to the drive of Abu Dhabi to grow their industrialisation base and attract more companies to set up their operations in the emirate," said Edwin Lammers, vice president of commercial at Kizad to The National in Dubai.
Abu Dhabi is implementing a number of new measures to boost industrialisation in the emirate as part of Dh50 billion Ghadan 21 economic stimulus programme. Earlier this year, the government reduced electricity bills for businesses and is also implementing a dual license policy allowing free zone companies to operate on mainland.
The government of Abu Dhabi also signed an agreement with the First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country's biggest lender by assets, to extend state-backed loans to SMEs as it looks to open up more avenues of financing for the cash-strapped sector.
“Abu Dhabi is working hard for the preferential treatment of industries that are coming into the emirate. It has the lowest utility rates and new measures by the government will help in attracting more companies to the emirate,” added Mr Lammers.
Kizad also waived the charges for more than 75 per cent of its services in August to reduce the cost of doing business in the free zone.
New plans at Kizad include expansion of the free zone to develop another 180 square kilometres of land named Area B to accommodate more companies. Area A of Kizad with 51 square kilometres of development is almost full, he noted.
“We grew very rapidly on the SMEs where we are trying to provide flexible solutions for establishing their business and to grow from there. We have warehouse and land plots available for them to grow their business.”
Chinese companies are also coming in a big way to establish their operations in Kizad, added Mr Lammers.
The total investment committed by Chinese companies into the free zone has reached $1.5 billion (Dh5.50bn).
“At the beginning of this year, we have taken over from Abu Dhabi municipality in issuing construction permits and that will help speed up setting up their business.”
"We have a number of important elements where we are focusing ourselves", he said on the future growth plans.
"Earlier this year, we launched polymers park together with Borouge and Adnoc. Along those lines, we would further develop ourselves into the food industry, automotive industry, metals, among others.”