Abu Dhabi's Department of Economic Development plans to increase the number of registered businesses in the emirate by 10 per cent after the launch of its one-stop shop business centre yesterday.
"The main purpose of this business centre is to increase the activity in Abu Dhabi and attract more people to do business," said Mohammed Omar Abdullah, the department's undersecretary. "We expect it'll have an impact of 10 per cent from the registered 86,000 licences last year."
Scores of people queued up at the information desk yesterday and then crossed to one of the numerous booths inside the business centre to consult with a representative about their business. The lobby is equipped with free Wi-Fi in addition to a number of ATM machines and a branch of National Bank of Abu Dhabi.
A trip to the second floor takes investors to a semi circular area with dozens of booths representing eight different government institutions.
They were buzzing with business activity as ministry officials and visitors discussed required procedures - something that used to take excruciating legwork and weeks to get clearance. Now the process should take no more than a matter of days.
In the weeks ahead of the official launch, the Department of Economic Development has welcomed about 500 to 700 people a day, said Mr Abdullah.
The department plans to add nine government institutions this year to its partnership with the business centre, which will mean it can offer 90 per cent of the paperwork and legwork required for businesses.
The department hopes to add a further 28 government institutions next year to account for the remaining 10 per cent.
The department is also reviewing the cost structure for commercial licensing after the Executive Council last year decided to halt a proposed increase on fees.
"The next step is the evaluation of the costs … It's all about competitiveness. We will also synchronise all the relative fees charged by government department related to procedures for business operations," said Mr Abdullah.