The Ajman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has been reaching out to business sectors in the emirate to improve ties and boost the economy.
Obaid Ali Al Muhairi, ACCI’s chairman who was elected in January, sat down with Emirates Business to discuss his vision for the chamber and the emirate’s fast growth rate. As a symbol of the transformation of the chamber, Al Muhairi said the ACCI will launch a new logo in addition to revamping its activities.
What is the Ajman Chamber’s new vision and mission?
The ACCI is a looking to be an active body for further developing the emirate’s economy. There is an urgent need to create closer and tighter relations with the different sectors and to further bolster relations to help serve them better and solve their problems. Such an approach will enhance the emirate’s position as a preferred business destination. To achieve this objective, we are working on two levels: within the chamber and with the different business sectors.
Can you describe your internal strategy?
We strongly believe in working cohesively as a team and that each and every employee is a member in this team. Based on suggestions made by employees, we are preparing the chamber’s
We have held an extended meeting with the chamber’s employees and other meetings with each department. All the employees were asked to submit their suggestions to develop their department’s performance. We have received large numbers of suggestions and we are studying them. There were many excellent suggestions. These suggestions will be included in the new strategy. And, actually, some recommendations have been implemented
Are there other communication channels with the employees?
We have initiated an executive office and the structure will be changed. The position of the deputy director will be cancelled and there will be assistants to the director who will be also directors of departments. The executive office is entitled to take decisions or to submit its recommendation to the administrative board for further consideration.
How are you planning to build close relations with business sectors?
We are in the process of establishing councils with each commercial, industrial and creative sector such as property, tourism, ready-made garments, food and shipping. We have already formed a property council that includes representatives of developers and real estate companies. There will be two representatives from the chamber and the relevant government department in the councils. The councils are required to forward the sector’s recommendation and suggestions to the chamber and the concerned departments.
Are these councils required to hold meetings regularly?
No, we do not impose on them a certain schedule for holding meetings. Members of each council have the freedom to choose the frequency for their meetings according to the sector’s needs.
How does your work overlap with the UAE’s federal strategy?
The chamber is a member of the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry. In a recent meeting of the Federation’s general secretariat and with the aim to help better implement the UAE strategy, we have suggested the need to hold meetings in the different emirates rotationally.
Hosting the general secretariat’s meeting should be accompanied by organising symposiums with different business sectors and with the rulers or their representatives. We believe that holding meetings within the members is not enough to initiate inter-government and business sector relations.
The Federation has approved the proposal and Ajman will host the first rotational meeting next June.
Do you have plans to enhance trade with overseas bodies?
Yes, this will be done through participating in exhibitions and conferences, especially with targeted countries that we are looking to enhance our trade with or to grab investments from. On our schedule are: the International Business Forum in Germany, the UAE-Malaysia Partnership Exhibition in May, the International Asian Investment and Property Exhibition in May and the Italian Property Expo in June.
How was last year’s performance and rate of growth in the emirate?
By the end of 2007, overall trade activities in Ajman (exporting and re-exporting) reached Dh5 billion in comparison with Dh4.5bn at the end of 2006. The rate of growth was more than nine per cent.
Was this a reflection of an increase in export and re-export activities?
We issued 29,200 certificates of origin in 2007 with an increase of 240 certificates in comparison to 2006. The difference in value was significant.
Was there any increase in the number of companies operating in Ajman?
Yes, by the end of 2007, the number of new and renewed memberships of all types of businesses – commercial, vocational and industrial – was 20,000 in comparison with 19,000 memberships in 2006. The growth rate was six per cent. According to the rules, each and every company should become a member in the chamber once it has applied for a licence.
What facilities are the chamber taking into consideration?
In co-ordination with Ajman Municipality and Planning Department, we are preparing to implement a new employee system. Under the system, an applicant for a licence will not have to move from one counter to another to process formalities. All necessary formalities will be processed at one counter. As well, we will be studying the process of applying for a licence to find out what facilities would be needed to help reduce the time and effort needed to issue a licence.
Obaid Ali Al Muhairi
Chairman, Ajman Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Al Muhairi is a former member of the Federal National Council. He served on the FNC from 1987 to 2005, when he joined the Ajman Chamber of Commerce and Industry as a member of its administrative board.
Al Muhairi started his career in 1970 in the field of education and headed the Technical and Vocational Education Department at the Ministry of Education.
Ajman trade hits Dh5bn in 2007