19 Sept 2021, Khaleej Times – khaleejtimes.com
Investors repose trust in Dubai economy ahead of Expo 2020 as the government’s measures for ease of doing business starts yielding positive results.
Dubai on Saturday proved its economic resilience by recording strong growth in new licences in August as the investor sentiments pick up ahead of Expo 2020 next month.
In a statement, Dubai Economy said it issued 5,885 new licences last month compared to 3,829 in the same period last year, reflecting a year-on-year growth of 54 per cent.
A recent report by the Business Registration and Licensing sector of Dubai Economy said the figures reflect the ease of doing business in the Emirate, the measures taken to ensure business continuity and further simplify government procedures for businesses, thus reinforcing Dubai’s status as a global hub and the world’s best place to live and work.
Professionals are in demand
The Business Registration and Licensing sector of Dubai Economy issued 3,473 new licences for professional category in August [about 59 per cent of the total] while 2,378 licences [40 per cent] awarded for commercial category and one per cent licences were given for industrial activities in the emirate.
“This confirms the emirate’s constant efforts to provide a supportive environment and infrastructure for local and international businesses,” according to Dubai Economy statement.
According to the main areas, Bur Dubai accounted for the largest share (4,299) of the new licences issued followed by Deira (1,577), and Hatta (9).
Saad Maniar, senior partner at Crowe, said the business activities have picked up lately and it is only going to go up as market conditions improve.
“Dubai is one of the most trusted cities when it comes to saftey, security, life style and most importantly business opportunities. Investors find it easy to set up business in Dubai and enjoy a good lifestyle,” Maniar told Khaleej Times.
Kamal Vachani, group director and partner at Al Maya Group said 54 per cent year-on-year growth in new Dubai business licences is a great news and further strengthen Dubai’s position as one of the top destinations in the world for starting a new business.
“The Government of Dubai give special attention to ease of doing business and that’s the key reason more and more investors are willing to start a business in the Emirate. The Invest in Dubai platform is another great initiative of the Dubai government to facilitate investors at one place for all their needs and to complete the business licencing process,” Vachani told Khaleej Times.
“We are blessed to be living and doing business in Dubai and the UAE. The ease of doing business in Dubai is the best in the world,” he said.
Ease of doing business
Bal Krishen, chairman and CEO, Century Financial, said ease of doing business in Dubai has certainly improved in Dubai as part of various government initiatives and this has helped attract a lot of businesses.
“In early 2021, the UAE government announced its decision to allow 100 per cent foreign ownership of firms, as part of a new visa system for international investors and talents. This has resulted in the favour of expat business owners, who are now more than ever incentivised to materialise their business models. Apart from that, the recently introduced longer-term visas, the federal institutions have indirectly introduced legal routes to attain UAE citizenship. Recent introductions include remote work visa, golden visa and multi entry tourist visa,” Krishen told Khaleej Times.
Morever, he said the UAE administration has launched several new initiatives to foster a future-ready entrepreneurial ecosystem. One such initiative, is the ‘Dubai Next’ crowdfunding program that will decentralise venture capital, the platform has already hosted 543 campaigns, which are giving start-ups and ideas initiated by both Emirati and international talent, the chance to launch their venture in the country. Moreover, entrepreneurial hubs and incubators are already in motion.
“Also, the lack of direct income tax on the resident of the UAE is a major advantage for any individual who ventures to the country. This enables individuals to avoid the hassle of double taxation and the effectivity of double taxation treaties between their country of nationality and their country of work,” he said.
The UAE is ranked 16th globally in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ report 2020. Additionally, The UAE has ranked 15th globally in Kearney’s 2021 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index, up from 19th place in 2020. The UAE is one of only five countries globally that achieved a higher ranking this year in an increasingly competitive global FDI attraction environment.
In the right direction
Nitin Agarwal, president, Hundred, said the UAE and Dubai governments are doing everything right for attracting new entrepreneurs into the city and country.
“Be it various initiatives on new long-term visas, 100 per cent foreign ownership companies, the exposure that the country is receiving due to the Expo and other initiatives by the government to make it easy to establish a new business in Dubai and the UAE,” Agarwal told Khaleej Times.
He said the UAE authorities have handled Covid-19 in the best possible manner which has led to new inflow of entrepreneurs from Asia and Europe relocating to Dubai, in order to take advantage of the lifestyle here and friendly business environment.
“Dubai and UAE are also doing a lot about digital transformation, and is one of the leading countries in the world to adopt various digital initiatives. Smart apps are playing a big role in Dubai’s position as a smart city, and accordingly we have chosen the UAE as the first market to launch our super app Hundred Offers,” he said.
New Vision, initiatives
Ola Lind, director at FTFT Capital, said it is clear that the new vision and initiatives launched is driving Dubai towards becoming a knowledge economy.
“The new visas including golden and green visas, strategic trade tie-ups like the Dubai Silk Road are attracting new talent, investment and businesses,” he said.
“While Expo 2020 has certainly had a role to play in the boom and 54 per cent growth in licences in August and over the last few months, real estate also experienced a boost thanks to various industries including the drive towards sustainability and initiatives such as vertical farming, blockchain, green tech and cloud kitchens,” he said.
“Blockchain will play a bigger role in Dubai’s position as a smart city and in its drive towards digital transformation,” he added.
Dubai Economy plays key role
Dubai Economy strives to deliver solutions that contribute to enhancing ease of doing business in the emirate and expanding investment and growth, which drives sustainable economic growth. This highlights Dubai Economy’s vital role in providing value-added services to businesses in Dubai as well as strengthening the emirate’s economic competitiveness, including its ability to provide businesses high-growth opportunities in various economic sectors.
According to the legal forms of the new licences issued in August 2021, the report showed that Sole Establishment companies topped the list with 38 per cent, followed by Civil companies and Limited Liability companies with 23.5 per cent each. The legal forms also included one-person limited liability company; Branches of companies based in other Emirates; Branches of Foreign Companies; and Branches of Free Zone Companies.
Investors can obtain any trade licence or launch a business in a matter of minutes through ‘Invest in Dubai,’ the first integrated digital business set-up platform, which simplifies the business journey without the need to visit service centres.
The platform provides initial approval, reservation of a trade name, issuance of instant licences, Dubai SME licences, Intelaq licences, DED Trader licences, in addition to electronic Memorandum of Association, and the renewal of commercial licences.