More licences issued for construction firms in UAE than any other sector

About three new licences per day have been issued for construction contracting companies across the Emirates this year

Laborers work at an under construction site near the Marina Mall in Dubai, UAE, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. (Shruti Jain / The National)
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More new construction companies were started in the UAE in 2019 than in any other sector.

About three new licences per day were issued to construction firms across the country this year, according to UAE Ministry of Economy data cited by state news agency Wam.

A total of 1,050 licences were issued by local economic departments in all emirates for construction contracting businesses in 2019, while 1,004 licences were issued to general commerce businesses, the next-most popular category.

Some 868 licences were also issued for hot and cold drinks businesses, 755 for new restaurants, and to indicate that UAE residents have a sweet tooth — 671 licences granted to dessert businesses.


Other categories appearing in the top 10 included the transport sector (521 licences for transporting by light trucks and 508 for heavy vehicles), perfume sales (429), clothes retailing (403) and building cleaning services (390).

The top 10 industries were responsible for 6,599 new licences, or 14.6 per cent of the total.

Contract awards in the UAE have slowed recently as infrastructure work related to Dubai's Expo 2020 project comes to a close and developers in the emirate have reined in major new launches due to concerns about an oversupply in the market.

In Abu Dhabi, however, spending is set to increase in many areas — most notably in energy, where Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is set to spend Dh486 billion over a five-year period.

In August, accountancy firm KPMG said that 53 per cent of the industry executives interviewed in the UAE for its global construction survey felt their business would grow by between 6-10 per cent over the next 12 months, and a further 20 per cent expected double-digit growth.

“The construction sector is the lifeblood of the UAE economy and it is very encouraging to see that the industry is expecting single to double digit growth this year,” said Sidharth Mehta, a partner at KPMG Lower Gulf.