Dubai: Dubai Business Councils and business groups will be treated as commercial institutions, according to a recent decree to define the role of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and issued by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and the Ruler of Dubai.

Effective immediately, Dubai Business Councils will be granted official licence to open headquarters and have the authority to hire staff and sponsor visas for new employees..

The new decree gives Dubai Chamber more authority to enhance the role of Dubai businesses not only locally but across regional and world markets.

Hamad Buamim, director general of the Dubai Chamber, said during a roundtable yesterday with Dubai Business councils and Business groups, that business councils and business groups will be recognised as legal entities and will also be entitled to own and open new offices, open bank accounts and will get all the benefits enjoyed by commercial establishments.”

Buamim added that the newly licensed authorities will provide a boost to the business sector in the emirate.

Business councils in Dubai expressed their gratitude over the new decree.

Dr. Abdul Kader Al Sankari, chairman of Syrian Business Council, remarked that the decree not only recognises the Dubai Business Council and business groups but also widens the scope of their business plans and strategies to include larger markets.

While business councils in Dubai are facing serious problems in terms of hiring staff or issuing visas, Al Sankari said: “Allowing business councils to operate as commercial institutions will not only ease our management policies and networking procedures but will promote bigger business opportunities.”

“It will grant business councils stronger official status with bigger authorities. This will unify our voice by representing a legal platform in the business communities.”

He added that the new decree grants Dubai Chamber additional responsibilities to promote Dubai internationally.

“Being represented by Dubai Chamber in the world market, will enhance our businesses in new markets as well as energize the economy.”

Hakan Bahceci, chairman of Turkish Business Council, said: “This is a very encouraging move for all business councils in Dubai which will also help to eliminate a lot of barriers and obstacles that our council used to face since its inception.”

“We do have an office for our council but it is without an official licence and is based on personal initiatives from our members. However, we really face problems to hire staff or get visas for our secretary. ”The new decree might not have a direct impact on the businesses itself but this move cares about the interests of the private business in Dubai.”

The official licence will grant us bigger authority to design policies and make the council a more visible and active engaged community which in turn will attract more members, Bahceci added.

Dr. Bharat Butaney, chairman of the Indian Business and Professional Council, said: “Treating the business councils in Dubai as commercial institutions will have a significant impact on the market and help the overall economic growth.”

Jonathon Davidson, chairman of the British Business Council, said his organisation received an exceptional official licence from the Development Economic Department in Dubai 25 years.

He believed the changes will mean positive changes for the business communities across the emirate.

Davidson said “the new legal identity for these councils means a lot for other business councils who used to operate as a networking circle.”