The UAE Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) plans to shift the role of its member organisations from granting licences to a more active position linking the business community and government authorities, at both federal and local levels.
“Companies are expanding locally due to increasing demand in the property and financial services sectors,” he said. “There is increasing inflation but it is an open market and the demand is very high, while the supply is still low.
How does the FCCI and its affiliated chambers plan to develop their role?
The FCCI represents the UAE private sector in the country and the traditional role of chambers of commerce and industry was to grant licences.
We are also co-ordinating with related authorities, at federal and local levels, to study these obstacles and find proper solutions through co-operation between the government and private sectors.
We prepare studies, collect data and give advice about various economic activities in the country.
Despite these services in the country, the UAE was ranked 68th in the World Bank’s recent ‘Doing Business’ report. What is
the FCCI’s role in improving the business environment?
The FCCI considers this report a road map for improving the UAE’s competitiveness. The country’s economy is improving very fast and we need to expand our role in the business community.
The FCCI along with chambers of commerce and industry in all the emirates represent the private sector and we must create close communications with government authorities to achieve progress.
During the FCCI’s last meeting we discussed this issue and we will focus on three main areas to promote the UAE’s competitiveness. We will prepare proposals to ease procedures for opening new companies, reduce the cost of licences and reduce the time taken to grant licenses.
These areas are very important to reduce obstacles facing new companies in the country and when new regulations are approved and put in force the UAE’s competitiveness will increase sharply.
What about the other areas the report addressed – especially laws and legality?
We are taking the report very seriously and are trying to bring in the best practices of developed countries to improve our competitiveness.
We are in continuous contact with the business community and government authorities regarding laws related to economic activities. Currently we are preparing ideas and proposals to discuss the impact of the commercial agencies law on local agents.
Amendments to the law set a limited period for commercial agency agreements and give foreign entities the right to cancel agreements and appoint new agents.
Local agents have served the interests of international organisations for decades and played a major role in expanding the business of these entities in the country and the region. Local agents consider these amendments unfair.
We understand the amendments are in line with the rules of the World Trade Organisation, but international agreements set a framework for free trade and each country has the right to protect its interests.
The UAE Government is opening up the water, electricity and health industries to private companies and there are major private sector projects in these areas.
The private sector is focusing on the real estate market because there is high demand on realty – and high profits. The real estate market is a very important component of the economic cycle as increasing demand for properties will increase demand for building materials and boost related industries.
The high economic growth rates have created vast business opportunities for businessmen.
Salah bin Omeir Al Shamsi
President of FCCI
Shamsi is the first elected Chairman of the ADCCI following the historic 2005 election. He is Chairman of Al Qudra Holding and a member of the boards of several companies and organisations.
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