A meeting of Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, and the heads of various economic departments in the UAE proposed a new set of initiatives to further strengthen the economy and minimise the impact of the global financial crisis.
The meeting recommended the formation of a supreme committee involving the Ministry of Economy, various economic departments, municipalities and public and private sectors.
The committee is also mandated to look into the status of functioning of the real estate sector and tackle potential issues. Each emirate was urged to adopt effective strategies and policies to meet the challenges faced by the real estate sector and also amend banking policies related to interest rates and lending norms.
The meeting called for the setting up of a Common Emergency Committee to deal with the global economic crisis, and provide recommendations to the Cabinet.
The participants discussed the suggested initiatives provided by the minister of economy and various government departments and the different chambers of commerce and industry in the UAE to tackle the unprecedented challenges.
The participants called for the need to provide loans for strategic projects, regulate leasing prices, reduce fees of entry visas and sponsorship transfer, and provide commercial warehouses at lower costs. They said the industrial sector must be provided with easier access to credit for their sustained growth.
They suggested releasing the cash of private sector companies held as bank guarantees by the Ministry of Labour, and to cancel the A, B, C classifications followed by the ministry for construction companies and putting all of them as A class in 2009 and 2010.
The participants said the global financial crisis demands urgent involvement of the UAE Central Bank in outlining effective monetary policies. They discussed the need for new mechanisms to facilitate bank deposits that will encourage business growth, and proposed the reduction of interest rates, and initiating varied lending rates for different economic sectors. The participants said though the UAE is committed to a free market policy, the government must intervene, when needed.
Al Mansouri told the participants that the strong economic integration of the Federal and local governments has helped minimise the impact of the current global financial crisis on the UAE's various economic sectors.
"The joint efforts with the local entities help in reducing the impact of the global crisis on the UAE markets," said Al Mansouri.
"We are committed to addressing the economic challenges and in formulating appropriate solutions. The ministry has set up a special team to study the suggestions by our committees, which will send its report to the Cabinet for approval and implementation."