Dubai to set up committee to settle family business disputes

New panel aims to prevent any harm to family businesses’ reputation or financial position while disagreement is being considered

About 90 per cent of private companies in the country are family-owned, the UAE Ministry of Economy says. Pawan Singh / The National
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Dubai is to set up a committee to boost family businesses, a critical part of the emirate's private sector economy, its Government Media Office said on Tuesday.

The move will prevent any harm to family businesses’ reputation or financial position while a dispute is being considered, a statement said.

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, First Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, has issued a resolution to set up the Family Business and Family Ownership Disputes Settlement Committee.

"This committee will consider and settle all disputes concerning family businesses and ownerships, along with the authority to take the preventative and urgent measures to preserve its continuity and to prevent the interruption of its work or affect its reputation or financial position throughout the period of consideration of the dispute,” Sheikh Maktoum said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“Family businesses are an essential component of Dubai's economy and through the activation of this committee's role it will remain a steadfast partner in Dubai's prosperity and progress.”

Dubai's family businesses generate more than 40 per cent of the emirate's gross domestic product, government data indicates.

About 90 per cent of private companies in the country are family-owned, a report by the UAE Ministry of Economy says. They also employ more than 70 per cent of the private-sector workforce.

Family businesses operate in a range of vital sectors including property, construction, retail and wholesale trade, hospitality and tourism, manufacturing, financial services, health care, education and technology.

The outlook for family businesses in the emirate is “exceptionally promising”, as financial wealth in the UAE is projected to surge 6.7 per cent annually to reach $1 trillion in 2026, up from $700 billion in 2021, which will spur significant growth in this sector, Dubai Media Office said in July.

“Dubai is keen to ensure we have the right climate that helps family businesses grow and flourish generation after generation, contributing to the Dubai Economic Agenda D33’s objective of making Dubai one of the world’s top urban economies as well as the fastest-growing and most attractive business hub,” DMO quoted Sheikh Maktoum as saying.

A judge with a rank not lower than appeal level will be appointed committee chairman. The panel will include two members with experience in the legal, financial and family business-management fields, who will be appointed on a recommendation from the director general of Dubai Chambers.

In May, Dubai Chambers set up a dedicated centre for family-owned businesses to help them to navigate challenges such as succession planning and achieving sustainable growth.

All family businesses in the emirate, regardless of their size or turnover, will be able to use services offered by the Dubai Centre for Family Businesses, which aims to make corporate governance an integral part of growth and continuity strategy of family-owned private companies, Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, chairman of Dubai Chambers, said at the time.

Updated: October 24, 2023, 5:32 PM