The Abu Dhabi emirate government launched another package of initiatives to spur on the local economy on 25 June – the latest in a string of efforts since the Dh50bn ($13.6bn) Ghadan 21 economic stimulus was announced in June last year. Despite further supportive measures since then, growth has been disappointing and Dubai-based Emirates NBD recently cut its GDP forecast for the UAE for this year from 3.1% to 2%, following weaker-than-expected growth last year, not least in Abu Dhabi.
Among the latest measures are the promise of easier access to finance for SMEs, a Dh4bn fund to support corporate research and development programmes and a commitment that all state-owned-entities will pay contractors within 30 days. The government is also introducing an ‘instant licence’ allowing businesses to apply for commercial licences online and start trading straight away. In addition, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) has cut its trading fees from 1 July to try to increase liquidity and attract more investors.
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