Dubai is once again throwing its doors open to business, with a reform package that introduces a comprehensive series of policies designed to promote further economic growth and to strengthen confidence in the Emirate.
Various government departments will join forces to work on the stimulus plans, which are expected to include a set 20 per cent allocation of government tenders specifically for SMEs. Also put forward is a new mortgage law which is aimed at making prices more affordable and increasing demand, as well as timeshare structures which will allow low-cost family tourism ventures to be created.
Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of Dubai's Department of Economic Development (DED), explained that the plans promise to make the Emirate an ever-more attractive investment proposition.
He said: "The initiatives launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to reduce [the] cost of doing business and facilitate inward investment in the emirate, draws on past experiences and seeks to move towards the future with confidence."
Four initiatives have been outlined by the DED, which is aiming to give Dubai businesses a competitive edge with a number of concessions. These include the reduction of operational costs for retailers, support for local procurement and production, business exemptions for fines and violations, and a drive to attract the best fledgeling companies to Dubai. The DED's executive committee will be responsible for following up on the implementation of the initiatives.
The news follows the recent announcement that government fees for businesses would be frozen by the UAE federal government and the Government of Dubai.
On the whole, business looks to be making positive progress in Dubai's non-oil sector, which these latest initiatives are focused on. The Dubai Economy Tracker Index (DET) has reported an improvement in the business landscape of sectors such as tourism, retail and construction, with the only weak spot appearing to be a decrease in employment numbers, which were down for the first time since early 2017.
Dubai plans to call on foreign expertise in the new push to become business friendly. It has been announced that a consultative council will be formed, which invites the contributions of international companies and can help to design and implement the changes that are needed to increase competitiveness.
The plans have already attracted a positive response from business leaders. Ashish Panjabi, COO of Jacky’s Business Solutions, told Gulf News that the business benefit for Dubai would not be restricted to small companies. He said: "The initiatives will allow people to start growing again. Even though it is targeted at SMEs, they end up spending with us and it is a cycle. The freezing of government fees for three years will allow businesses to plan things ahead. The rental cost of retail space will also be controlled in the long run."
The Dubai World Trade Centre features in the new strategy, as it focuses on attracting investment from South East Asia.