Abu Dhabi to introduce measures to attract investors as part of new industrial strategy

Emirate will focus on improving the ease of doing business and creating policies to support industries, official says

Sameh Al Qubaisi, director general of economic affairs at the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development. Victor Besa / The National
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Abu Dhabi's new industrial strategy will focus on attracting more investors and supporting industry growth through new policies and measures to improve the ease of doing business and boost access to finance, a top executive from the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development has said.

The strategy is expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks, with a focus on critical economic sectors such as pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, machinery, electronics and electrical items, chemicals and aluminium refining.

“The strategy will have three main elements in it, one is putting the investor at the heart of it,” Sameh Al Qubaisi, director general of economic affairs at the department, told The National on the sidelines of the Make it in the Emirates Forum.

It will look at investor needs and where they could save in terms of land costs, electricity tariffs and water and sewage rates in a way that improves profitability, he said.

The other part is developing an ecosystem that is “conducive for any investor”.

Investors look at factors such as “what the government or what the ecosystem is able to provide when it comes to trade agreements, financing in capital markets, the marketability of UAE products internationally and how the supply chain works, the trade”, Mr Al Qubaisi said.

Supportive policies and regulations, as well as measures to improve the ease of doing business and give investors access to capital and financing are also important parts of the new industrial strategy, he said.

Abu Dhabi unveiled various measures such as rent rebates, discounts on utility bills and loan guarantee packages to support businesses and stimulate economic growth during the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this year, it removed more than 20,000 requirements that were deemed critical to establishing a business in the emirate.

Abu Dhabi also slashed business set-up fees by 94 per cent last year to strengthen its position as a destination for new ventures and boost foreign direct investment into the emirate.

Mr Al Qubaisi said Abu Dhabi’s economy is rebounding from the pandemic and will perform better than it did in the previous year amid the easing of pandemic restrictions, such as the removal of mandatory on-arrival PCR tests for all travellers in March.

“The numbers [indicating economic growth] are coming along good. We are seeing growth coming up with the opening of Abu Dhabi lately to the international market, flights are back on track, imports and exports are back on track — the numbers have been improving year on year, quarter on quarter,” said Mr Al Qubaisi.

Credit rating agency S&P expects Abu Dhabi's gross domestic product to accelerate to more than 5 per cent in 2022, with output reaching 2019 levels in 2023.

The emirate’s GDP increased by 2 per cent while the non-oil economy expanded by more than 4 per cent in 2021, compared with the previous year, according to Mohamed Al Shorafa, chairman of the department.

Non-oil real GDP growth last year was led by agriculture, followed by forestry and fishing, manufacturing, health and social service activities, figures compiled by Statistics Centre-Abu Dhabi showed.

Updated: June 22, 2022, 12:21 PM