Dubai proposes new economic plans as it aims to boost growth and lower costs

Dubai's ruler instructs government departments to implement new measures

Dubai, April 09, 2018: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister  of United Arab Emirates (UAE)  at the Annual Investment Meeting at the world trade centre in Dubai. Satish Kumar for the National /Story by Deena Kamel
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Dubai plans to implement new measures to help boost economic growth, attract new investments and cut the cost of doing business across sectors ranging from tourism to financial services.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE's Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, discussed the initiatives on Saturday with a group of government officials, the Dubai government’s media office said in a statement.

“We have instructed the relevant entities to facilitate business procedures, reduce the cost of doing business and dedicate all possible resources to ease investment activities without complications or hindrances,” Sheikh Mohamed said in the statement.

Dubai, the commercial and trading hub of the Arabian Gulf region and the most diversified GCC economy, is undertaking a series of measures to help boost growth to off set the impact of a slowdown in trade with regional peers.

Dubai’s economy, which fared relatively better than the other Gulf states during oil price slump, is forecast to accelerate in 2019 and reach 3.7 per cent as infrastructure development and diversification policies continue apace, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai said in December.

Real GDP, which grew 2.85 per cent in 2016, is projected to grow 3.5 per cent in 2018.

The initiatives announced on Saturday include payment of certain government fees in instalments, earmarking 20 per cent of government tenders to small and medium-sized enterprises and waiving commercial penalties and fines imposed by the Department of Economic Development on companies’ violations.

The department also presented a proposal to lower the operational costs for the retail sector in order to contain the increase in expenditures and boost investments in this sector.

The DED also proposed an initiative to offer incentives to some 1000 start-ups, particularly in the technology sector from emerging markets, to set up base in Dubai in order to make the emirate a hub for entrepreneurs.

The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing presented a plan to attract more transit passengers to visit Dubai, a measure that could bring in an extra 1 million tourists.

The department also suggested introducing the time share concept to woo more families to visit the emirate, by listing between 500 to 1000 time share properties, a move that could help boost tourist numbers and encourage them to stay longer.


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The department also proposed new steps to help attract more private yachts and boats to visit the emirate and be serviced there as well.

The Dubai Land Department proposed plans to help attract international investment funds and Nasdaq-listed companies to invest in the real estate sector. The department also proposed coming up with alternative financing schemes for property investors, particularly small and medium-sized ones.

The Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation also put forward plans to facilitate foreign trade procedures to help boost foreign trade by Dh27 billion and use blockchain technology to help advance the industry.

The corporation also announced plans to develop an aluminium downstream industry that uses products manufactured by Emirates Global Aluminium, one of the world’s biggest producers of the metal.

The Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, which is tasked with turning Dubai into a capital for Islamic finance and Sharia-compliant economic activities, proposed plans to boost the listing of Islamic bonds in the emirate by creating platforms such as secondary market for listing sukuk of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Currently Nasdaq Dubai has $58.8bn worth of Islamic debt instruments listed, $7.35bn of which are new issues listed in the first quarter of this year.