SMEs deserve better access to financing, Chamber official says

SMEs, backbone of economy, can play a role in Emiratisation also in future

Image Credit: Binsal Abdul Kader/ Gulf News
Mohammad H. Al Muhairi
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UAE deserve better access to financing and the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI) is taking up this cause with the government, a senior official told Gulf News on Tuesday.

“[Currently] interest rates are very high and it is almost impossible for SMEs, especially start-ups, to get bank loans. We are taking up this issue with the government, which is the right body that can talk to the Central Bank and banks in the country,” Mohammad H. Al Muhairi, Director General of ADCCI, said in an interview on the sidelines of a conference in the capital.

“We are also urging the banks in Abu Dhabi and across the UAE to consider SMEs to get right financing options,” he said.

As Gulf News reported on Tuesday, the UAE Banks Federation has taken several initiatives to help small and medium businesses. The initiative rescued 1,700 companies that held loans from UAE banks valued at Dh7 billion, according to Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Federation.

Al Muhairi said SMEs play a major role in employment generation in any economy. Although they offer employment mainly to foreigners in the UAE at the moment, they can play a major role in Emiratisation in the future. “That is our strategy.”

“There should be more funds available for this sector,” he said.

Al Muhairi said the SMEs are the backbone of the economy and they constitute a major chunk of enterprises in Abu Dhabi. “We would like to enable them to compete with major local and international [multinational] companies. Some of them are already equipped to do so,” said the official who was a speaker at the conference on “Linkages between Industries” organised by Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development and its partners.

He said the chamber wants to create the right business environment that will enable all SMEs to compete with big companies. “We represent the private sector [which is dominated by SMEs] and we would like to support them,” Al Muhairi said.

He said SMEs play a major role in the economic diversification efforts of the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

A UAE bankruptcy law recently approved by the UAE Cabinet will help the SMEs,” he said.

“This will support them for sure. We expect that it will come very soon.”

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