DUBAI: The total value of the contracts provided by Dubai SME for the Government Procurement Programme for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) grew from Dh857.76 million in 2016 to Dh1.5 billion during 2017, according to figures supplied by the Government of Dubai’s Media Office.

The annual growth in contracts under the programme, which requires all Dubai Government and Government-owned entities to buy at least 10 per cent of purchases from Emirati-owned SMEs, was 74.9 per cent.

The programme also requires such entities to waive their approved-supplier registration fees for companies that are Dubai SME members.

Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, said on Tuesday that by supporting such SMEs, the programme promoted national entrepreneurship and contributed to Dubai’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“The Government Procurement Programme has made a great leap forward in the quest to support SMEs, spearheaded by government and private entities across the UAE, in terms of the value of contracts signed and the number of participating institutions. This reaffirms the great faith that these entities have in innovative Dubai-based start-ups,” he said, in a statement released by Dubai’s Media Office.

Shaikh Hamdan thanked His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for his support for the SME sector. He also praised the federal and local government entities, semi-government entities and private organisations that developed initiatives and made efforts to improve the programme’s performance.

A report from Dubai SME, the government body responsible for supporting and promoting Emirati-owned SMEs, highlighted Dubai Municipality’s projects supporting the scheme. The municipality — winner of the Best Supporting Government Initiative in the UAE in the SME Awards 2018 — created more than 30 initiatives to support SMEs, including helping entrepreneurs establish shops at lower costs by allocating specific units to them, and by prioritising SMEs in projects including Dubai Safari, Hatta Development Projects and the Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve.

In total, the municipality awarded SMEs contracts worth Dh482 million in 2017.

A report from Dubai SME, the government body responsible for promoting and supporting Emirati-owned SMEs, said a total of Dh5 billion worth of contracts and purchases had been awarded to SMEs by government bodies since the Government Procurement Project was founded in 2002.