Abu Dhabi dispenses with red tape in bid to attract industrial investors



Abu Dhabi announced on Wednesday it had taken measures to eliminate red tape and cut the time needed for a trade licence in an effort to attract investors to its fast-growing industrial city.

The Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones (HCSEZ), which manages the massive Abu Dhabi Industrial City in Musaffah, said it had completed a nine-month project that involves what it called a “unified window team”, an electronic tie-up with other departments, online services for investors, and a unified project licence that will save time and effort for both the investors and government offices.

“The HCSEZ started offering these advanced services in March… we have unified industrial licences in the emirate and packed them into one licence, which is now issued only by the HCSEZ,” said Chief Executive Officer Jaber Hareb Al Khaili.

“We are doing this after we signed several memoranda of understanding with the departments of planning and economy to get the needed information. These measures are intended to facilitate the granting of licences to investors, who no longer need to go to those departments, or to the Abu Dhabi Chamber or other offices.” Al Khaili said the new system is part of an overall programme to attract investment and switch to e-government in the UAE.

Hundreds of companies operate in the sprawling Abu Dhabi Industrial City, which is currently spread over 14 square kilometres just outside the capital. Officials said the city would be expanded by at least 12 square kilometres, while an adjacent industrial city is being constructed with an area of 50 square kilometres to cope with a sharp rise in demand for land by investors.

Abu Dhabi has been locked in a drive to attract industrial investment as part of plans to diversify its economy and ease reliance on volatile oil sales.

During 2001 to 2007, cumulative industrial investment in the emirate totalled around Dh56.3 billion and officials expect further growth in the coming years.

Despite growth in the economy, the contribution of the industrial sector to the gross domestic product has steadily risen during that period to peak at around 11.04 per cent last year compared with 10.8 per cent in 2006.