x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Fast-track hub to slash time to start a business in Abu Dhabi

The time it takes to start a business in the capital could be slashed to a matter of days with the launch yesterday of a fast-track hub to cut through red tape.

The time it takes to start a business could be slashed to a matter of days with the launch yesterday of a fast-track hub to cut through red tape.

The new Abu Dhabi Business Centre has offices staffed by representatives of eight key government institutions, and will be linked directly to another seven by the end of the year.

Entrepreneurs who need quick decisions will also have access to staff from Daman, Aramex, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Police and Civil Defence.

The targets set include a maximum waiting time of 20 minutes to talk to a representative and 10 minutes to complete a procedure. When a process requires clearance from a third party, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development has set a time limit of three working days.

Officials believe the new centre, in the same building as the department and next door to the municipality, will attract investment and encourage more businesses to start up in the capital.

The hub has been established "to reshape the business environment aligned with international standards and comes as part of a strategic plan focused on the development of various economic sectors," said Nasser Ahmed Al Sowaidi, the department's chairman.

It is a key initiative in a raft of reforms announced last month with the aim of boosting the private sector in Abu Dhabi, as the Government seeks to accelerate the role of private enterprise in driving diversification away from the oil sector.

The centre "contributes significantly to the positioning of Abu Dhabi as a premium hub for investment and for attracting business", said Mr Al Sowaidi.

"It will have an impact on Abu Dhabi achieving high rankings in the World Bank report for ease of doing business."

That report ranked the UAE 26 out of 185 economies this year, an improvement from 29 in 2012.

The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report, published in September, ranked the UAE 24th out of 144 countries, an improvement of three places from the year before.

"Abu Dhabi authorities are very keenly monitoring the various rankings for ease of doing business around the world and there is a desire to improve on those rankings and genuinely offer a better and efficient platform for the capital's business environment," said Giyas Gokkent, chief economist at National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

"They want Abu Dhabi to become a more competitive and attractive place to do business."