New Dubai council to oversee key sectors
Dubai, November 24, 2008
The recently-established Advisory Council of the Government of Dubai, a high-level economic advisory body, has been mandated to oversee key economic sectors.
The council, under the supervision of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will rapidly address the current global challenges and their impact on a range of areas, including government finances, real estate, banking and equity markets, said a statement.
“The formation of the Advisory Council is an extremely significant initiative undertaken by the Government of Dubai, under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, to ensure the long-term growth and stability of a range of sectors of economic activity in the emirate,” said Mohamed Alabbar, who has been nominated to head the council.
He was delivering the keynote address at the opening of the DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre) Forum, part of the ongoing DIFC Week in Dubai today, where he outlined ongoing activities of the council, a body that was formed some six weeks ago.
Fellow members of the council, which will meet at minimum monthly basis, include: Mohammed Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and chairman of Dubai Holding; Mohammed Al Shaibani, director-general of the Ruler’s Court and chief executive of the Investment Corporation of Dubai; Sultan Bin Sulayem, chairman of Dubai World; Dr Omar Bin Sulaiman, governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre and vice-chairman of the UAE Central Bank; Nasser Bin Hassan Al-Shaikh, director-general of the Dubai Department of Finance; Essa Kazim, chairman of Borse Dubai and the Dubai Financial Market; Abdul Aziz Al Muhairi, managing director of the Investment Corporation of Dubai; Marwan bin Ghalita, chief executive of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority.
Among the council’s first activities has been to actively manage the current and future supply of new projects onto the emirate’s real estate market to ensure equilibrium in the sector, he said.
Pointing out that the three largest Dubai-based real estate developers account for approximately 70 per cent of supply, Alabbar said that the council is acting in full cooperation with them as well as private developers in the emirate.
“Today, the real estate sector is witnessing a healthy correction. This is a consequence of global financial conditions – and is inherent to the very nature of the market. As we all know, real estate is cyclical. Monitoring supply and sales, the Advisory Council is managing this important sector of our economy, ensuring that new supply is properly managed and that current and future demand is adequately met,” Alabbar explained.
He added that he city continues to attract international investors and professionals who want to be part of the Dubai success story and sought-after global lifestyle.
As evidence of the government’s commitment to rapidly addressing the needs of real estate sector participants, he pointed to the recently announced merger of Amlak Finance and Tamweel under the umbrella of the UAE Real Estate Bank to create the largest real estate finance institution in the country.
Turning to the issue of Dubai’s debt and refinancing, he clarified that the Government’s sovereign debt obligations represent a fraction of the government’s assets. Dubai’s borrowing is not used to cover state expenditures or fuel consumption, but is funding long-term, risk-free infrastructure development.
“Currently, the Dubai Government’s sovereign debt obligations stand at $10 billion (Dh37 billion). While our key sovereign assets are currently being evaluated, I can give you a rough estimation of their value, being over $90 billion (Dh330 billion). And this does not include our airports, bridges and the Metro. At the same time the total debt obligations of affiliate companies stand at $70 billion (Dh256 billion), compared wi