Dubai: The UAE Ministry of Economy is finalising 12 sets of laws as part of a push to modernise the legislative system, the Minister of Economy, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri told a gathering on Sunday evening.
The revised laws are expected to boost the investment and business environment in line with the government's strategic vision for 2021, Al Mansouri said.
During the networking suhoor held by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Al Mansouri said: "Our laws are quite old and should be revised to cope with the current economic situation and to stand up to the market challenges according to the fundamentals of justice".
Giving an overview of the economic situation, he said the economy was in recovery, and was passing through a challenging time.
Real GDP growth estimates for 2010 had ranged from a low of 0.6 per cent to a high of 3.2 per cent, with an average GDP growth estimate of 2.25 per cent for 2010.
"The UAE has enough reasons to be confident," he said. "The trade and economic statistics show that the macro-economic fundamentals remain strong [and] there is cautious optimism among the private sector," he said.
"The liquidity situation has improved and we expect slow recovery in the next two to three years."
The new laws sought to address concerns regarding commercial regulations and arbitration, and to promote efficiency, transparency, and investor confidence in the business sector, he said.
The government was in the final stages of revising laws including the:
• Commercial Companies Law
• Competition Law
• Auditors Law
• Arbitration Law
• Investment Law
• Industry Law
• Certificate of Origin Law; and the
• Anti-Fraud Law.
Once implemented, the new laws would strengthen the legal infrastructure and boost the economy.
In the past five months, the value of non-oil exports reached Dh31 billion while the value of re-exports reached Dh62 billion.
The value of imports in the same period was Dh189 billion.
Mansouri said: "The fact that inflation remained at 0.43 per cent during the first half of 2010 clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of our financial management despite the sweeping impact of the global economic crisis".
This would encourage businessmen and investors to be more active and creative, he added.
The price of crude oil was important to the UAE economy and represented 35 per cent of the country's GDP, he said. Although the demand for oil had somewhat increased due to the recovery in the global economy, this relatively high price of oil was also supported by the increase in the demand for oil in the Middle East, which was expected to grow by 4.5 per cent in 2010 alone.
Al Mansouri remarked that the real estate sector would take much longer to recover compared to other sectors. However, this could turn attention to different sectors such as trade, logistics, and services — the traditional pillars of the Dubai economy.
Pointing to the remarkable growth in the aviation sector, Al Mansouri said: "UAE carriers Emirates airline, Etihad and Air Arabia are doing quite well".
During the first quarter of 2010, the UAE aviation sector reported 11.5 per cent growth. Moreover, the number of airport visitors was vital proof that the UAE was a leading aviation hub, he said.
The government's commitment to offer full support to businesses had produced positive results, and the significant improvement in the liquidity of the banking system was the result of expansionist monetary policies.
"The liquidity situation in the banking sector is very healthy as evidenced by the large deposits of commercial banks with the Central Bank of the UAE," he said.
Improving stock market indices and accelerating FDI inflows indicated that investor confidence in the UAE was bouncing back.
Insurance was one sector in the UAE which properly reflected soaring investor confidence.
The sector received Dh23.7 billion in investments in 2009, against Dh21.6 billion in 2008.
Al Mansouri remarked that the global crisis had also opened doors to many opportunities especially in small to medium enterprises (SMEs). This sector was regarded as a safe investors' alternative by governments and businesses all over the world.
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