The Abu Dhabi Government, under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has reinforced its commitment to the private sector's development, launching nine new initiatives on Monday.
At the Abu Dhabi Government Private Sector forum attended by H.H. Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy National Security Adviser, who oversaw the development of the new programmes in his capacity as Member of the Executive Council and Chairman of the Executive Committee, nine initiatives for businesses, investors, entrepreneurs and SMEs, were revealed in line with Abu Dhabi’s vision to become one of the best places in the world to do business, invest, live, work and visit.
Celebrating six months of the three-year Abu Dhabi Development Accelerator Programme, Ghadan 21, in action since officially commencing at the start of 2019, the Private Sector Forum, hosted more than 200 leaders from the public and private sectors.
The announcements culminated in the launch of a major step forward in opening doors to doing business and investing in the Emirate via the 'Abu Dhabi Instant Licence'. The Instant Licence makes applying to conduct commercial activity in Abu Dhabi simpler than ever before.
All licence applications are now streamlined through a digital portal and consolidated into broader licencing categories offering businesses greater flexibility. The easy-to-use system is fast, efficient, and accessible to all.
Approvals are processed instantly online and licence holders in most sectors may begin conducting their business activities immediately.
"Building a sustainable, globally-competitive knowledge-based economy requires a solid partnership between the private and public sector. The Government of Abu Dhabi is fully committed to enabling the private sector by providing a supportive business environment, creating new public-private partnership opportunities and enhancing the ease of doing business," said Saif Mohamed Al Hajeri, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.
"The latest Ghadan 21 initiatives and Abu Dhabi Instant Licence are vital private sector accelerators as they are focused on speed, flexibility, and simplicity - reducing operating costs, introducing new investment opportunities and establishing innovative licensing frameworks. They are initiatives that will help drive forward our goal to increase the private sector's contribution to Abu Dhabi's GDP from the current 32 percent to 37 percent by 2021," he explained.
To help accelerate the private sector’s participation in the economy, the Department of Economic Development launched two initiatives. The first is the industrial tariffs initiative to enhance the competitiveness of Abu Dhabi and support the development of the industrial sector. The new industrial tariffs will be determined by an established scoring mechanism based on three criteria - economic impact, productivity and electric load.
The second initiative by DED is the introduction of new licences for technology businesses. The Tech licences package provides 13 new business activities in the Tech sector, positioning Abu Dhabi as a global tech beacon.
Abu Dhabi Investment Office, ADIO, the Department of Finance and First Abu Dhabi Bank launched the 'SME Credit Guarantee' scheme with a signing ceremony at the opening of the Forum. The SME Growth Loan will provide more accessible financing opportunities for SMEs based in Abu Dhabi through a guarantee provided by the Abu Dhabi government to Abu Dhabi banks. The scheme guarantees up to 75 percent of loan value, which will be provided to the bank in case of default, enabling banks to secure a certain level of lending to the market.
To find more investment opportunities, ADIO also launched a dedicated 'Corporate Research and Development Programme'.
The Programme is the first fund dedicated to supporting companies’ research and development activities in Abu Dhabi, where AED4 billion has been dedicated to providing rebates on R&D spend and commercialisation costs of new R&D activities happening in the emirate.
The Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, ADDA, launched the 'Open Data Programme' offering an advanced safe integrated technical system that facilitates sharing data and enables user access to reliable data sources quickly, safely and seamlessly. The Open Data Programme aims to empower research institutions and other bodies by providing access to public data to support the scientific research and development sector, as well as encourage private sector organisations, investors and individuals to create innovative solutions to solve different challenges.
ADDA also provided updates on TAMM Journeys, a one-stop-shop portal which allows citizens, residents, visitors and investors to access multiple government services. TAMM offers a wide range of government services through the integrated journeys approach, which will eventually include 1,600 government services available through 80 journeys in the health care, education, entertainment, housing, investment and social development sectors.
Managed by the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, ADCED, the 'Sharaka' platform (which means ‘partnership’ in Arabic) is built on a trusted communication mechanism based on the concepts of transparency, responsiveness, and constructive dialogue. Cases are dealt with through a set of criteria that ensure payments are appropriately billed and settled on time. In addition to dues, Sharaka has introduced a 30-day payment policy under which government entities and state-owned-entities will provide 30-day payment terms to their contractors.
Moreover, ADIO with the Department of Culture and Tourism, DCT Abu Dhabi, launched 'Ecotourism Incentive Packages' to promote three under-explored tourism archetypes - Mirfa, desert locations and private islands - to attract additional visitors with new activities. The ecotourism packages provide benefits to hospitality investment and eco-tourism operators including land lease exemptions, tax waivers, accelerated licencing, marketing and government infrastructure investment. The packages support Ghadan 21’s ambition to enrich the tourism offerings in the emirate and make it a place everyone aspires to visit.
Ghadan 21 is a first-of-its-kind accelerator programme in the region, driving economic development, innovation, and ease of doing business in order to make Abu Dhabi’s economy one that is even more dynamic and globally integrated.
The three-year programme from 2019 to 2021 includes an AED50 billion fund that is being invested across four strategic pillars - economic, knowledge, liveability and social.
© Emirates News Agency - WAM
By Nour Salman
25th June, 2019