uae investors explore opportunities discuss challenges
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
Arab Today, arab today

UAE investors explore opportunities, discuss challenges

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today UAE investors explore opportunities, discuss challenges

UAE investors
New Delhi - WAM

On the sidelines of the visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as the Chief Guest of India's 68th Republic Day Celebrations, over 30 high-level Emirati business leaders, Indian business owners based in the UAE, and government and private representatives from both the UAE and India, convened on Wednesday at the Taj Palace in New Delhi to discuss business opportunities, major investable projects in India, as well as major challenges facing investors there.

The session, entitled "Business Session for UAE CEO’s", was organised by the UAE Embassy in India, the UAE International Investors Council, and the Confederation of Indian Industry.

The UAE business delegation was led by Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Saleh, Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade and Industry, and included Ahmed bin Al Falahi, Commercial Attache at the UAE Embassy in India, Sultan bin Sulayem, Chairman-DP World, and Yusuffali MA, Chairman of the Lulu group, among others.

Speaking to WAM on the sidelines of the session, Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, Managing Director of VPS Healthcare, an integrated Healthcare provider with a network of hospitals, chain of medical centres, and 20 hospitals in the UAE, including Burjeel Hospitals and Medeor 24/7 Hospitals, said that the meeting is a step in the right direction, especially at a time when strategic relations between the UAE and India are strengthening and evolving considerably.

"This meeting is a step in the right direction, especially during this juncture where UAE-India relations are going strong, and which I think can be taken to the next level by business people. We have the leaders of two great nations aligned to create a strong partnership. I believe that the business community has a very big role to play," Vayalil said.

The session heard from various experts in the industry about the opportunities and the challenges facing investors in India. While most agreed that India presents endless and attractive business and investment opportunities, many issues surrounding the challenges in dealing with bureaucratic elements and complex regulations pose a level of uncertainty and insecurity for potential investors.

Explaining these issues, Vayalil said, "India has the best potential but the challenges are also high. It’s all about how we address those challenges and make India an investment-friendly country, and improve the ease of doing business, because the regulatory hassles that investors face coming to India can be a little difficult, and we need to address those issues."

Many UAE business leaders have expressed their concern with some aspects of the current system in India and say it falls short to encourage more investors from the UAE, with many Emirati investors saying they feel the need for more transparent and clear regulations that offer them better protection and comfort.

An Emirati representative on the board of a major service sector company, who did not wish to be named, said that India is a country which has always been a land of opportunity and with the new regulations and initiatives being put in place, he feels positive for the future.

"India is a major partner, and has big opportunities from two main sides of investment and tourism, yet every time we try to explore India in both aspects we face some challenges. Last year, the visa process was stringent, and we could only get a single entry, but now things have changed, with the help of the new UAE Ambassador we are now issued with a 6-month entry, which is a good step," he said.

He explained, "The visa application process will be the first step as it offers transparency on how to oversee and protect your investments. As an investor, I look at ease of travel to oversee my investments. When it comes to investment, India is the future."

He added, "When you see a nation investing in their infrastructure, like you have seen in the UAE, the progress of the microeconomic conditions rapidly grows. India is investing in and recognising these key elements in their economy. And for those in the private sector, especially from the UAE, we look at this very carefully, as they are great opportunities."

"And because we have already matured in the infrastructure, service, and healthcare industries, why not come here and expand our collaborations? That requires transparency and clarity, its as simple as that," he noted.

Payal Mirakhur, Vice President of Invest India, said that although investors in the past may have faced challenges, the investment environment and attitudes have significantly evolved over the last two years. "India is a huge opportunity, as statistics confirm, and everyone knows, but there have been issues," she said.

"However, if you look at the last two and half years, since the Modi government has come in, it recognised that India has great opportunities. In order to leverage them, the government has to do a lot of things. There has been a complete mindset change in this country, especially when it comes to bureaucracy, and under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, there has been many reforms and initiatives announced, leading to many changes and the transformation that India is going through today."

Mirakhur went on to say that although in the past, and in certain sectors, investors have faced difficulty, the government has since taken notice of those issues, and many sectors have reviewed their policies and looking into how to improve and protect investors. "For example, in the roads and highways sector, with the new projects that have come, the way contracts are being made ensures that they are not one-sided," she explained. "The agreement will look after the interests of both parties and there has been a government directive, especially for that," she added.

Invest India is a government initiative under the "Ease of Doing Business" programme, mandated with facilitating processes for investors, and working closely with them from the start to help in various government-related issues, building relations, licenses, interpretation of policies, etc.

Mirakhur continued, "We serve as a bridge between the private sector and the bureaucracy. We also work with companies in India for policy advocacy, as well as with the government to ensure that things are changing. We aim to fix the negatives of past experiences, and our job is to ensure that nobody goes through that again."

"The aim is to roll out the red carpet," she concluded.

The UAE, which last year announced US$75 billion worth of investment in India, is already involved in many projects and many new ones are expected to be finalized soon.

Yusuffali MA, Chairman of Lulu, said that his company is keen to strengthen its age old relationship between both countries and would like to explore new sectors to invest in. "Lulu's portfolio of investment in India is around US$2 billion, which is primarily invested in shopping malls, hotels, convention centres and food processing in Kerala, UP, Gujarat, Telengana and Andhra Pradesh."

The key sectors being considered by UAE investors are infrastructure, railways, airports, defence, IT, and space.

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