The Emirates steel factory in Musaffah, Abu Dhabi. The value of exports from the manufacturing sector touched Dh24.8 billion in 2018. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi

The manufacturing sector in Abu Dhabi witnessed a growth of 6 per cent in 2018 with 42 new industries starting production with an investment of Dh12.3 billion to boost non-oil GDP, according to the latest report released by the Industrial Development Bureau of the Department of Economic Development (DED) on Sunday.

New industries were set up in metals, food, building materials, chemicals and electrical equipment among others.

In 2017, 37 new industrial facilities were established in Abu Dhabi with a total investment of Dh5.2 billion, the report shows.

“The growth of 5.9 per cent in the manufacturing sector reflects the vital role of this major sector in the emirate’s non-oil economy. Within the past five years, its contribution in non-oil GDP increased from 11.5 per cent in 2017 to 12.1 per cent in 2018,” said Ahmad Hilal Al Baloushi, acting executive director of the Industrial Development Bureau at DED, Abu Dhabi.

He also said that bureau is implementing a number of initiatives to boost the industrial sector by improving business improvement, reducing operational costs and increasing the demand for local products. “We are trying to develop a new ecosystem for the industries to thrive in Abu Dhabi in different industrial zones like Zones Corp, Kizad through joint venture companies.”

The report also showed that the value of exports from the manufacturing sector touched Dh24.8 billion in 2018 from Dh22.8 billion in 2017 with a growth of 8.8 per cent.

On the other hand, imports of manufacturing industries in 2018 reached Dh41 billion from Dh39 billion in 2017.

Number of new licenses issued last year also went up to 118 licenses from 86 licenses in 2017.

The development comes as Abu Dhabi puts emphasis to diversify the economy away from oil by boosting the industrial sector after a prolonged period of low oil prices hurt its economy. Last year, Abu Dhabi government launched Dh50 billion Ghadan 21 initiative to develop various sectors and increase growth.

“We expect 2019 to be as good as 2018 for the manufacturing sector. We expect to see the same amount of growth as we have seen in 2018,” Al Baloushi added while addressing the media in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.