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Abu Dhabi: Power bill discounts, access to bank loans, open data, efficient services and a major push for R&D form part of a nine-point policy initiatives launched here on Monday to boost business.

Industry leaders welcomed the initiatives, aimed at businesses, investors, entrepreneurs and SMEs in line with Abu Dhabi's vision to become one of the best places in the world to do business, invest, live, work and visit.

With this new drive, the Abu Dhabi Government, under the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has reinforced its commitment to the private sector's development, with the new initiatives.

It was unveiled during the Abu Dhabi Government Private Sector forum attended by Shaikh Khalid Bin Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy National Security Adviser, who oversaw the development of the new programmes in his capacity as Member of the Executive Council and Chairman of the Executive Committee.

Ghadan 21

It was unveiled during the Private Sector Forum, which marks six months of Ghadan 21, the three-year Abu Dhabi Development Accelerator Programme, which kicked off at the start of 2019.

The forum hosted more than 200 leaders from the public and private sectors.

Following are the initiatiatives unveiled:

Ghadan 21: What is it?
Ghadan 21 is an accelerator programme, the first-of-its-kind in the region, aimed to drive economic development, innovation and ease of doing business.

The programme is aimed to make Abu Dhabi's economy even more dynamic and globally integrated.

The three-year programme — from 2019 to 2021 — includes a Dh50-billion fund being invested across four strategic pillars — economy, knowledge, liveability and social.

1. “Abu Dhabi Instant Licence”

The announcements culminated in the launch of a major step forward in opening doors to doing business and investing in the Emirate via the “Abu Dhabi Instant Licence”.

The Instant Licence makes applying to conduct commercial activity in Abu Dhabi simpler than ever before.

All licence applications are now streamlined through a digital portal and consolidated into broader licencing categories offering businesses greater flexibility. The system is easy to use, fast, efficient and accessible to all.

Approvals are processed instantly online and licence holders in most sectors may begin conducting their business activities immediately.

"Building a sustainable, globally-competitive knowledge-based economy requires a solid partnership between the private and public sectors. The Government of Abu Dhabi is fully committed to enabling the private sector by providing a supportive business environment, creating new public-private partnership opportunities and enhancing the ease of doing business," said Saif Mohammad Al Hajeri, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

Building a sustainable, globally-competitive knowledge-based economy requires a solid partnership between the private and public sectors.

- Saif Mohammad Al Hajeri, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

"The latest Ghadan 21 initiatives and Abu Dhabi Instant Licence are vital private sector accelerators as they are focused on speed, flexibility, and simplicity — reducing operating costs, introducing new investment opportunities and establishing innovative licensing frameworks," he said.

Ghadan 21 initiatives and Abu Dhabi Instant Licence
The latest Ghadan 21 initiatives and Abu Dhabi Instant Licence are vital private sector accelerators as they are focused on speed, flexibility, and simplicity — reducing operating costs, introducing new investment opportunities and establishing innovative licensing frameworks, said Saif Mohammad Al Hajeri, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

“They are initiatives that will help drive forward our goal to increase the private sector's contribution to Abu Dhabi's GDP from the current 32 percent to 37 percent by 2021," he added.

2. Industrial tariffs initiative

To help accelerate the private sector's participation in the economy, the Department of Economic Development launched two initiatives.

The first is the industrial tariffs initiative to enhance the competitiveness of Abu Dhabi and support the development of the industrial sector.

The new industrial tariffs will be determined by an established scoring mechanism based on three criteria — economic impact, productivity and electricity load.

3. Tech businesses

The second initiative by DED is the introduction of new licences for technology businesses. The Tech licences package provides 13 new business activities in the Tech sector, positioning Abu Dhabi as a global tech beacon.

4. SME Credit Guarantee

Abu Dhabi Investment Office, ADIO, the Department of Finance and First Abu Dhabi Bank launched the “SME Credit Guarantee” scheme with a signing ceremony at the opening of the Forum.

The SME Growth Loan will provide more accessible financing opportunities for SMEs based in Abu Dhabi through a guarantee provided by the Abu Dhabi government to Abu Dhabi banks.

75%

of loan value under the new SME Credit Guarantee scheme unveiled on Monday. It will be provided to a lender bank in case of default, enabling banks to secure a certain level of lending to the market.

The scheme guarantees up to 75 percent of loan value, which will be provided to the bank in case of default, enabling banks to secure a certain level of lending to the market.

5. Corporate R&D programme

To find more investment opportunities, ADIO also launched a dedicated 'Corporate Research and Development Programme'.

The programme is the first fund dedicated to supporting companies' R&D activities in Abu Dhabi, where Dh4 billion has been earmarked to provide rebates on R&D spend and commercialisation costs of new R&D activities taking place in the emirate.

6. Open Data Programme

The Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, ADDA, also launched the “Open Data Programme” offering an advanced safe integrated technical system that facilitates sharing data and enables user access to reliable data sources quickly, safely and seamlessly.

The Open Data Programme aims to empower research institutions and other bodies by providing access to public data to support the scientific research and development sector, as well as encourage private sector organisations, investors and individuals to create innovative solutions to solve different challenges.

7. TAMM Journeys

This is an integrated online initiative by the Abu Dhabi Government. ADDA provided updates on TAMM Journeys, a one-stop-shop portal which allows citizens, residents, visitors and investors to access multiple government services.

TAMM offers a wide range of government services through the integrated journeys approach. This will eventually include 1,600 government services available through 80 journeys in the health care, education, entertainment, housing, investment and social development sectors.

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Abu Dhabi’s newly-established Smart Solutions and Services Authority roundtable to discuss about the authority’s new initiative, TAMM, which aims to transform the way we interact with Abu Dhabi Government at the Yasmall in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

The aim is that by 2020, all government services can be accessed, and home and school searches done on one website. Currently, 140 government websites provide various services to the people, but by 2020, only one website — www.tammabudhabi.ae — will facilitate all these.

8. Sharaka Platform

Managed by the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, ADCED, the “Sharaka” Platform is built on a trusted communication mechanism based on the concepts of transparency, responsiveness, and constructive dialogue.

“Sharaka” is Arabic for “partnership”.

Cases are dealt with through a set of criteria that ensure payments are appropriately billed and settled on time.

In addition to dues, Sharaka has introduced a 30-day payment policy under which government entities and state-owned-entities will provide 30-day payment terms to their contractors.

9. Eco-tourism Incentives

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Tourists enjoy a 'fly to the lure' demonstration at the Al Maha Desert Resort, ranked by National Geographic among the world’s best ecotourism models. Green branding is increasingly becoming important for the success of destinations. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

ADIO, with the Department of Culture and Tourism, DCT Abu Dhabi, also launched “Ecotourism Incentive Packages” to promote three under-explored tourism archetypes — Mirfa, desert locations and private islands — to attract additional visitors with new activities.

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A team of Green Hope members kayak to a mangrove belt on the eastern shoreline near Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Gulf News

The ecotourism packages provide benefits to hospitality investment and eco-tourism operators, including land lease exemptions, tax waivers, accelerated licencing, marketing and government infrastructure investment.

The packages support Ghadan 21's ambition to enrich the tourism offerings in the emirate and make it a place everyone aspires to visit.