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22 May 2024

Offset programme to help enhance UAE economy

Saif Mohammed Al Hajeri, CEO of Offset Programme Bureau and Tawazun Holding (SUPPLIED)

By Nissar Hoath

The country's offset programme is being reviewed and now in final stages of an innovative and revitalising restructuring to help boost the industrial sector and make the UAE an export-oriented country, an international conference in the capital was told.

The Offset Programme Bureau (OPB) is organising Abu Dhabi International Offset Conference 2009 (Adioc) under the patronage of its chairman General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The two-day conference, attended by local, regional and international speakers, was inaugurated by Saif Mohammed Al Hajeri, CEO of Offset Programme Bureau and Tawazun Holding, the hosts.

"Our offset, currently in its final review stages of an innovative and revitalising restructuring process, will promote UAE exports, develop capabilities and enhance opportunities for a wider range of joint manufacturing ventures and investment potential," said Al Hajeri in his keynote opening speech.

He also announced that a Defence Contractors' Council will be established at the bureau to address suggestions and to help keep the programme perpetually up to date.

"I'm proud of the Offset Programme Bureau's role in the development of the UAE, utilising offset to promote international trade and local investments.

"Under the wise leadership of the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the unlimited support of General Sheikh Mohammed we will continue to improve, innovate and enhance the economy of the UAE," he told the audience.

Al Hajeri said the bureau carries forward the rich legacy established since its inception, and established many companies such as Abu Dhabi Ship Building, Al Waha Leasing, Tabreed (the largest district cooling company in the world) …and more, "all starting as small, fresh, innovative ventures and growing into IPOs, and continuing as stable, mature corporations that fulfil the goal of supporting and bolstering the UAE economy, and reflecting the many variations of joint ventures made feasible by the wise use of offset credit".

He also said under the offset programme, the prospect of enhanced joint manufacturing ventures and investment potential is immense.

Zaal Al Mansouri, Projects Manager at OPB, in his address shed light on the history of the programme and achievements attained since 1992 when it was launched as the UAE Offset Group and future plans.

Al Mansouri said: "We are in the final stages of conducting some revisions to our existing policy with the aim to ensure our programme indentifies and develops strategic and profitable opportunities.

"It also aims to ensure the programme is flexible and caters to the industry dynamics and economic needs; focuses on leveraging defence contracts know-how and capabilities; promotes UAE exports; creates synergies with other existing ventures and connects defence contracts with potential local investors."

He also said the programme plays a vital role in maintaining a true economic stability that combines both the economic and military strengths with the objectives of supporting the UAE economy, identifying the country's industrial infrastructure, facilitating technology and know-how transfer and creating employment opportunities.

"Our strategies for 2009 and beyond mainly focus on research and development, patent development, joint manufacturing and maintenance, diversification of exports beyond oil and gas, technical training and education and enhancement of local capabilities," Al Mansouri said.