UAE government's adaptive policies helped to deal with Covid-19 crisis, minister of economy says

The country is focused on unlocking its economic potential to prepare for a post-Covid era, Abdulla Bin Touq tells World Economic Forum event

Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri - Minister of Economy,
Chairman of SCA Board. Courtesy Securities and Commodities Authority
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The agile and adaptive policies of the UAE government helped the country to deal with the Covid-19 crisis and steer its economy through the ensuing headwinds, the country's economy minister Abdulla Bin Touq said.

The Emirates, which reacted at the early stages of the pandemic to protect the lives and livelihoods of its people, is also focused on unlocking its economic potential to prepare for a post-Covid-19 era and meet its goals for the next 50 years, he told the World Economic Forum's online Davos Agenda event.

“Agility has been a key approach that guided the UAE government’s [actions] … and it is one of the main pillars that enhanced the government’s ability to deal with the Covid-19 crisis,” he said during a panel discussion on Tuesday.

Some of the government's initiatives to boost growth as part of the national agenda were launched way before the pandemic and helped authorities tackle the crisis more effectively.

The government launched the ministry of possibilities in 2019, the world’s first virtual ministry that works proactively on disruptive solutions to tackle critical issues, and some of its initiatives helped maintain critical government operations and business continuity during the pandemic, Mr Bin Touq said.

The UAE's RegLab, set up in the same year, worked on distance learning project – a method often criticised by educators before the pandemic – which was essential in continuity of the country's education system.

“This just shows how the UAE was very proactive in actually addressing the issues,” he said.

The UAE's ministry of economy launched several of its own initiatives, including a 33-point plan rolled out in August last year to support the various economic sectors and help with business continuity.

“We are not experts in [the] pandemic … we took a step back to understand how can we really unlock the issues that can help the economy to move forward,” Mr Touq said.

Among the main initiatives taken by the ministry were the upgrades to the commercial companies’ law that led to 100 changes to ownership and commercial transactions legislation, such as the decriminalisation of cheques.

Improvements to the bankruptcies law and consumer protection law also helped in forging stability in the country’s economy, Mr Bin Touq said.

“Four main laws in six months show how the UAE government is very agile in moving forward in actually unlocking the potential of its economy,” he said.

All of the measures were taken in “preparation for the next 50 years”, he added.