Abu Dhabi for 100pc ownership to expats
Abu Dhabi, May 26, 2009
The proposal to grant hundred per cent ownership of businesses in the UAE to foreigners has received a major boost with the officials in charge of economic development in Abu Dhabi backing the move, said a report.
Abu Dhabi’s Department of Economic Development chairman Nasser Ahmed Al Suwaidi said he was “strongly inclined” to grant 100 per cent ownership to expatriate businessmen and women, on the basis of projects, not land, the Arabian Business reported.
"We feel strongly inclined to grant 100 per cent ownership to foreigners in new and old industries as well as other projects. The percentage might be less in other sectors according to the emirate's needs. Ownership covers projects and not land," Al Suwaidi added.
His comments come just a week after a top official at Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) said it was promoting more liberal business ownership rules at federal government level.
All seven emirates are currently considering the plan that would see an end to the current system where local sponsors must own a 51 per cent stake in foreign firms - outside the emirates' 30 free zones, the report added.
However, Al Suwaidi said no final decision had been made yet. "Important amendments are under way and they are positive ones that will create a qualitative leap for the country's economy as a whole," he was quoted as saying in an Emirates Business report.
A week ago Khalid Al Kassim, deputy director general of DED said: "We are trying to push 100 percent ownership for the whole country, but Dubai alone cannot do it alone.”
It was in the UAE’s best interests to ease restrictions on foreign ownership as part of a strategy to boost foreign investment in the wake of the global crisis, he added.
Last year foreigners set up 342 projects in Dubai, up 59 per cent from 2007. Foreign direct investment soared by 123 per cent to $21 billion in the emirate, according to a study released last month by the Financial Times FDI Intelligence.