UAE Minister of Economy affirms commitment to SMEs
ABU DHABI // Sultan Al Mansouri, the Minister of Economy, yesterday assured Federal National Council members that efforts to promote small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) would mitigate the impact of the oil price slump.
Responding to a question on SMEs from Hamad Al Rahoomi, FNC member for Dubai, Mr Al Mansouri said the Government would continue to support SMEs and expand the sector to constitute 90 per cent of the UAE’s gross domestic product.
A law on SMEs passed last year entitled these companies to 10 per cent of Government awards, reduced fees for business procedures and simpler procedures, the minister said.
“We also started developing marketing for these enterprises and involved them in commercial delegations to China and Italy. There were also agreements with Sweden, Canada and Italy,” said Mr Al Mansouri.
“Many SMEs were also involved in a convention held last November during Innovation Week.”
Mr Al Rahoomi praised Dubai Municipality’s efforts to bolster SMEs as a good example of prioritising local companies.
“There should be coordination between local and federal [agencies] to promote them. The success of a project does not lie in production but in marketing,” he said.
Mr Al Rahoomi also called for “a platform to display all local projects”.
At yesterday’s FNC session, Mr Al Mansouri said a long-awaited arbitration legislative bill would be passed this year.
“The arbitration law which has been proposed since 2009 is finally ready to be issued after the Ministry of Economy has finished revising it with the Ministry of Justice,” he said.
The bill aims to align local arbitration procedures with international standards in an effort to make the UAE a more attractive place for business.
The latest draft of the arbitration legislation was issued in 2013. The passage of the legislation, which was expected to be passed in 2010, was delayed in the wake of the global financial crisis, said the minister.
Outside the FNC session, Mr Al Mansouri said infrastructure projects in Dubai and Abu Dhabi would proceed despite falling oil prices, showing that the UAE’s economic diversification strategy was working.
“Our projects continue in Dubai, including Al Maktoum International Airport and Expo 2020, as is the case with projects in Abu Dhabi,” the minister said.
“The UAE was able to deal with declining oil prices more effectively than other countries. We must strengthen other sectors to offset any future declines in oil prices.”
Mr Al Mansouri added that the federal budget for this year reflected the limited economic impact of the oil price slump.
Updated: January 5, 2016 04:00 AM