The Abu Dhabi Government has announced nine new initiatives to boost development in the private sector, including the granting of an instant business licences and access to loans for SMEs.
The initiatives come as part of the emirate’s Abu Dhabi’s accelerator programme, Ghadan 21, which aims to ease doing business in Abu Dhabi.
The three-year programme from 2019 to 2021 includes a Dhs50bn fund that is being invested across four strategic pillars – economic, knowledge, liveability and social.
It includes plans to create 10,000 Emirati jobs, ease business licence requirements, support investment and speed up contract payments.
The nine new initiatives announced include –
1. Instant licence
Under Abu Dhabi’s new ‘instant licence’, all applications will be streamlined through a digital portal and consolidated into broader licencing categories “offering businesses greater flexibility”, official news agency WAM reported.
Approvals are processed instantly online and licence holders in most sectors may begin conducting their business activities immediately.
“Building a sustainable, globally-competitive knowledge-based economy requires a solid partnership between the private and public sector. The government of Abu Dhabi is fully committed to enabling the private sector by providing a supportive business environment, creating new public-private partnership opportunities and enhancing the ease of doing business,” said Saif Mohamed Al Hajeri, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED).
“The latest Ghadan 21 initiatives and Abu Dhabi instant licence are vital private sector accelerators as they are focused on speed, flexibility, and simplicity – reducing operating costs, introducing new investment opportunities and establishing innovative licensing frameworks.
“They are initiatives that will help drive forward our goal to increase the private sector’s contribution to Abu Dhabi’s GDP from the current 32 per cent to 37 per cent by 2021,” he explained.
2. Industrial tariffs
Launched by the DED, the initiative will see new industrial tariffs imposed, which will be determined by an established scoring mechanism based on three criteria – economic impact, productivity and electric load.
3. Licences for technology businesses
A second initiative unveiled by the DED is the introduction of new licences for technology businesses. The licences cover 13 new business activities in the tech sector.
4. SME credit guarantee scheme
The ‘SME credit guarantee’ scheme will see more accessible financing opportunities provided to SMEs based in the emirate through a guarantee provided by the Abu Dhabi government to Abu Dhabi banks.
The scheme guarantees up to 75 per cent of loan value, which will be provided to the bank in case of default, enabling banks to secure a certain level of lending to the market.
It has been launched jointly by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), the Department of Finance and First Abu Dhabi Bank.
5. Corporate R&D programme
The ADIO has also launched a dedicated corporate research and development programme to provide more investment opportunities.
The first fund dedicated to supporting companies’ R&D activities in Abu Dhabi, the programme will see Dhs4bn allocated to providing rebates on R&D spend and commercialisation costs of new R&D activities happening in the emirate.
6. Open data initiative
The open data programme offers an integrated technical system that facilitates sharing data and enables user access to reliable data sources.
Launched by the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA), the programme aims to empower research institutions and other bodies by providing access to public data to support the scientific research and development sector, as well as encourage private sector organisations, investors and individuals to create innovative solutions to solve different challenges.
7. TAMM journeys
ADDA also provided updates on TAMM Journeys, a one-stop-shop portal which allows citizens, residents, visitors and investors to access multiple government services.
The TAMM portal will eventually include 1,600 government services available through 80 journeys in the health care, education, entertainment, housing, investment and social development sectors.
8. Sharaka platform
Managed by the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED) the ‘Sharaka'(meaning ‘partnership’ in Arabic) platform is built on a communication mechanism based on the concepts of transparency, responsiveness, and constructive dialogue.
Cases are dealt with through a set of criteria that ensure payments are appropriately billed and settled on time.
In addition to dues, Sharaka has introduced a new payment policy under which government entities and state-owned-entities will provide 30-day payment terms to their contractors.
9. Ecotourism incentives
A new ecotourism incentive initiative will promote three under-explored tourism archetypes – Mirfa, desert locations and private islands – to attract additional visitors with new activities, the WAM report said.
The ecotourism packages provide benefits to hospitality investment and eco-tourism operators including land lease exemptions, tax waivers, accelerated licencing, marketing and government infrastructure investment.
The initiative is being undertaken by the ADIO along with the Department of Culture and Tourism, DCT Abu Dhabi.