A long-awaited law to allow further foreign ownership of companies in the UAE is unlikely to be passed in 2012, a senior government official said.
A new UAE companies law, meant to liberalise the country's economy, has been in the pipeline for some time and is awaiting cabinet approval.
"There are some issues, we are optimistic it will be out soon," Omar Abdullah, Under Secretary in the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, told reporters on Thursday, adding the legislation would not be passed this year.
Abdullah said the government is considering allowing full foreign ownership in certain sectors. Currently foreign companies are allowed only 49 per cent ownership outside of designated "free zones".
"For specific sectors that can add value to the economy, 100 percent will be considered," he said.
Sectors and companies that can contribute positively to the country's GDP, to the transfer of technology and the creation of jobs will be considered for full foreign ownership, he said on the sidelines of an event in the oil-rich emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Loosening restrictions to attract more foreign investment is intended to make the economy more diverse and resilient while creating jobs for locals.