The UAE received nearly Dh13 billion in industrial investment in 2011 as it is pushing ahead with new laws to expand the manufacturing sector’s share from 16 to 25 per cent of GDP, according to official data.
From around Dh101 billion at the end of 2010, total industrial investment surged to a record high of Dh114 billion at the end of 2011.
“There was growth of around 12.8 per cent in industrial investment in the UAE last year,” said Abdullah Al Shamsi, industrial advisor at the Ministry of Economy.
He told the semi official daily Alittihad that the number of non-oil manufacturing units in the second largest Arab economy also grew to more than 5,200 at the end of 2011 from around 4,960 at the end of 2010.
“A new industry law is under discussion with all relevant departments and we hope it will be released this year,” he said.
“Our target is to expand this sector’s share of GDP from around 16 per cent at resent to 25 per cent in the coming years…the focus will be on capital intensive and low labour projects,” he said.
Recent government statistics showed the sector included around 405 factories involved in food industries with investment of nearly Dh32.9 billion. There were also 290 ready-made garments factories, with a capital of around Dh977 million, 655 furniture units with investment of about 1.06 billion, 384 paper and printing production units with a combined capital of Dh2.28 billion and 857 chemicals factories investing a total Dh16.7 billion, according to the report.
Like other Gulf oil producers, the UAE has been locked in a long-term industrial drive to ease reliance on unpredictable oil export earnings, taking advantage of its abundant energy resources, cheap labour, developed infrastructure and a strategic location in the heart of a massive consumer market.
By the end of 2010, the UAE and the other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman—have pumped in excess of $180 billion into the manufacturing sector Chemicals and plastic products were the largest beneficiary of GCC industrial capital, receiving around $81.9 billion. Investments were put at nearly $18.7 billion in non-metallic mineral products, $17 billion in basic mineral products, $13.5 billion in manufactured metallic products, machinery and equipment, and nearly $11.3 billion in food, beverage and tobacco.