Business licences issued in the UAE rose by 9 per cent on 2017 from the start of this year to the end of August.
A total of 532,000 licences were issued in the period, with the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai accounting for around 85 per cent of those, according to the Ministry of the Economy.
Dubai issued 249,000 licences, comprising 46.8 per cent of the total number issued.
In Abu Dhabi, a total of 77,406 licences were issued, including 25,460 for limited liability companies, 17,942 for company branches and the rest for single-member limited liability companies as well as stock and private and other types of firms.
In July, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development launched its expanded Tajer Abu Dhabi licence package, enabling business applications from all GCC nationals and UAE residents with an Emirati partner without an office or physical presence. The committee also abolished the need for a two-year office or workspace licence, permitting instead permanent home-based licences.
The service is part of the three-year Dh50 billion stimulus package for the emirate unveiled in June by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
“Tajer Abu Dhabi allows them to start their businesses at a much lower cost since they no longer have to invest in office space and all the associated costs,” said Saif Al Hajeri, chairman of the department, at the time. “This will allow them to focus both time and money at the important early stages of their business into growth and innovation, further increasing their contribution to the economy.”
Expanding access to business licences is seen as a critical component to further developing the private sector and increasing non-oil revenue in the UAE.
In terms of legal status, limited liability companies come first in the number of licensed firms in the UAE, accounting for 170,066 businesses, followed by individual companies (72,807), then foreign firms (2,141), single-member limited liability companies (1,869), with the remainder distributed among other Arabian Gulf-based public and private companies.
In Sharjah, a total of 51,998 licences were issued for individual companies, 23,178 for limited liability companies and the rest for other types of firms.
The World Bank's Ease of Doing Business report revealed last year that the UAE is ranked 21st globally, between Germany and Austria, and it ranked first among Arab countries for the fifth year in a row.