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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Abu Dhabi attracts Dh6.2bn in industrial sector investments in 2017

Number of new industrial licences that entered production stage rose recorded 85% year-on-year rise

The majority of licenses focus on the metal industries (428), followed by building materials (393). Victor Besa / The National
The majority of licenses focus on the metal industries (428), followed by building materials (393). Victor Besa / The National

Abu Dhabi last year attracted Dh6.2 billion in investments in its industrial sector with 37 new industrial units reaching production stage as the capital continues to push for development of industries in a bid to cut its dependence on oil income, the department of economic development said on Sunday.

The government, instead of making direct investments into the industrial sector, intends to shift its policy to supporting investors in order to boost the sector’s contribution to the emirate’s economy, said Khalifa Al Mansouri, undersecretary of the department.

“This will require a major change in the growth of the industrial sector, through the shift from government investment in the industrial sectors, to investment in policies and initiatives that will improve the competitiveness, and maximise the attractiveness of the emirate of Abu Dhabi for investors willing to get involved in industrial activities in the emirate,” said Mr Al Mansouri.

Abu Dhabi, which holds about 6 per cent of the world's proven oil reserves, is undertaking measures to diversify its income and cut its reliance on sale of hydrocarbons for revenues by supporting initiatives to boost the non-oil sector’s contribution to GDP.

It has developed several projects including Khalifa Industrial Zone of Abu Dhabi (Kizad) to house companies and factories to help achieve its targets of industrial sector growth.

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Over the coming years, the Industrial Development Bureau at the Abu Dhabi's economic department, would focus on providing an investment environment and supporting the industrial sector to meet the needs of foreign and local investors, such as the industrial funding, intellectual property protection, foreign ownership laws and others, Mr Al Mansouri noted.

According to the data released on Sunday, the total number of new industrial licences that went into production rose 85 per cent last year from 2016, with 29 factories situated in Abu Dhabi, six in Al Ain and two in Al Dhafra region.

The number of new industrial licences nearly quadrupled last year to 86 from 22 in 2016.

The total number of licences in the emirate reached 1,657 by the end of 2017, with 1,157 of them issued in the capital. The majority of licences focus on the metal industries (428), followed by building materials (393), fiberglass, plastic and sponge (210), wood, cardboard and paper industries (176) and chemical industries (160).

The number of industrial licences under the process status that were converted to production stage, rose 85 per cent to 37 in 2017, compared to about 20 licences in 2016.

The total number of industrial licensing transactions achieved in 2017 reached 28,404, an 8.3 per cent increase from 2016, according to government data.

Separately, Kizad and Shaheen Chem Investment announced on Sunday the signing of an agreement for the land lease of a two-phase chemical complex in the industrial zone with an expected investment of Dh4bn.

The plant will supply industrial giants such as Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) with raw material and introduce production of ethylene dichloride into the UAE for the first time.

The first phase of the plant is expected to produce 130,000 tonnes per year of caustic soda for EGA’s Al Taweelah alumina refinery and 160,000 tonnes per year of ethylene dichloride, according to a statement.

After the completion of the second phase, caustic soda production capacity will double and the plant will expand with the production of vinyl chloride and polyvinyl chloride.