As part of its efforts to facilitate a channel of communication between the public and private sectors, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised an event for the business community with Sultan Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, who provided an overview of the new UAE Companies Law.
The Talk Business at Breakfast meeting presided by Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber, was attended by hundreds of business people, setting an example of the cooperation Dubai Chamber facilitates between the Government and private sector at both the federal and local level.
The Minister of Economy spoke about the UAE economy and business environment and then in detail about the new UAE Companies Law.
Al Mansouri said the UAE is pursuing its vision to be among the best countries in the world by 2021. "As part of this goal and the continued growth of the economy, key drivers of entrepreneurship, small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) and innovation are a strategic priority for the Ministry moving forward, he said. Around 94% of UAE companies are SMEs and these contribute to over 60% of national GDP," he elaborated.
He said currently 96.3% of UAE Government services are smart, but that the target was to achieve 100%, and he encouraged everyone in the business community to use these smart services to help facilitate further growth.
Al Mansouri said that the UAE was a leading country in the Arab world for foreign investment. FDI inflows have risen to $11.85 billion in 2014 from $4 billion in 2009. Key sectors for investment include petrochemicals, alternative energy, transport and infrastructure, manufacturing, healthcare and education, defence and aerospace, real estate and construction, tourism and agriculture and water.
Moving to the legal framework, the Minister highlighted some important laws that are currently in process, including the Commercial Fraud, Foreign Investment, Arbitration and Anti-dumping laws. He said the Companies Law was one of the most challenging laws the UAE Government has passed, taking over 20 years of consultation and involving numerous departments and stakeholders across all seven emirates.
In total the law contains 378 articles divided into 12 chapters, regarding the general provision of companies, individual companies, Limited Liability Companies, public joint stock companies, private joint stock companies, companies and special organisations, conversion and mergers and acquisitions, expiration, foreign companies, inspection of companies, sanctions and transitional and financial provision.
The law was approved by the Federal National Council in April and contributes to the development of the business environment, increases competitiveness and enhances corporate governance.
On his part, Hamad Buamim, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber, welcomed the law saying: "The new Companies Law strengthens the protection of shareholders, increases transparency and the disclosure of financial data. Generally, it will improve the competitiveness of the economy, as well as the performance of the business environment.
"Our policy advocacy unit was part of the consultation process and it works hard to review and advise draft commercial, financial and economic legislation with regards to its impact on the business community. Last year we gave recommendations on 21 different laws at federal, ministerial and local level. This is a very important job and as the voice of the business community, we work to ensure the private sector is properly represented," Buamim said.