Umm Al Quwain FDI hits Dh100bn

(CHANDRA BALAN)    

 

Foreign investment in Umm Al Quwain hit the Dh100 billion mark in 2007, a senior official has revealed.

“This achievement followed a long programme of development,” said Dr Abdullah Al Mosfer, Director of the emirate’s Economic Department. “New projects will help attract further international investment, especially in the construction field.”

Most of last year’s foreign investment, especially from GCC countries, focused on the purchase of residential and industrial land. Prices increased by around 25 per cent in 2007– and experts say they will increase further in the future when massive residential, industrial and tourism projects commence operations. An urban framework plan produced by Australian consultancy UrbisJHD in 2006 provided an efficiently designed structure for the emirate’s growth over the next 20 years, he added.

It called for the provision of accommodation for a population of more than 750,000 – 10 times higher than current figures.

“Major features of the master plan include a new central business district, linked both to the coast and the desert interior by a network of open space corridors, as well as the development of an island holiday resort representing a strategic focal point for Umm Al Quwain’s burgeoning tourist industry,” said Al Mosfer.

There is a special focus on the construction sector in the master plan, he added. One of the major projects is the Umm Al Quwain Marina, currently being built by Emaar Properties.

“Bringing a new era of economic prosperity to the emirate, the Dh12 billion marina is a prestigious mixed-use project including a yacht harbour and a series of canals totalling around 450 acres.

“The project involves the construction of 6,000 villas, 2,000 townhouses and around 1,200 resort and hotel rooms, while the central 450-metre diameter marina basin will provide berths for more than 600 yachts.”

The planned Dh30bn Al Salam City project will occupy an area of 721 million square feet. It will include homes for 500,000 residents, parks, entertainment centres and a shopping mall.

Streamlining procedures

Talks aimed at setting up a labour office at Umm Al Quwain’s Business Gate – a centre that provides services to investors – are under way.

“The office will allow investors to obtain labour visas immediately from the same office,” said Al Mosfer.

“When the deal between the Economic Department and the Ministry of Labour is sealed, the office will be the first of its kind in the UAE.

“The Business Gate houses offices of all the related authorities in the emirate, including the municipality, immigration department, land department, civil defence and notary.

“It is a one-stop shop for investors where they can get all the required documentations and licences for new business activities within 48 hours. Renewal of licences takes only 20 minutes.

“The Business Gate achieved massive success in attracting foreign investments in Umm Al Quwain during the last three years. The number of commercial licences issued increased from 10,000 in 2004 to 25,000 by the end of 2007.”
 
 
 
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