Abu Dhabi: The UAE will launch a new industrial strategy this year as the country aims to boost the non-oil sector as part of its diversification plans, according to the country’s energy and industry minister.
The industrial strategy will focus on the role of industrial SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and how the country can benefit from them, Suhail Al Mazroui said in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
He was speaking at the International Defence Conference, which took place ahead of Idex 2019 that kicks off on Sunday.
Emphasising on the need to increase lending for industrial SMEs, Al Mazroui said only four per cent of the total lending goes toward industrial SMEs currently. “We need to encourage our financial institutions to lend to those SMEs.”
SMEs represent 95 per cent of all the firms in the UAE’s economy and account for 86 per cent of the total private sector workforce, he added. “When we talk about the industrial SMEs, the numbers are not impressive. We have the opportunity for industrial SMEs to catch up towards a similar numbers with trade and services SMEs reached.”
“There is a limited growth when we look about industrial SMEs even though we have very few successful stories like the story of Tawazun (defence firm) and some of the companies that they have created,” he said.
The energy minister also said there is a need to create a system similar to the one in the oil sector to boost companies operating in the UAE.
The In-country value programme in Adnoc (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company) targets to allocate gradually up to 40 per cent to the local service providers, whether they are industrial or service companies.
“Adnoc in the next five years will be spending about Dh100 billion every year for the next five years. Of which, we are targeting to achieve 40 per cent of that to the companies which are based in the UAE,” he said pointing out there is a big opportunity for SMEs in the defence sector.
“SMEs in future need to focus on robotics, artificial intelligence.”