UAE SMEs set to boost GDP share to 70 per cent

The Pak Banker - - 6BUSINESS -

The UAE is giv­ing big pri­or­ity to small and medium en­ter­prises across poli­cies and ini­tia­tives with an aim to boost the share of the seg­ment in na­tional econ­omy to 70 per cent from 60 per cent by 2021, Sul­tan bin Saeed Al Man­souri, UAE Min­is­ter of Econ­omy said on Wed­nes­day.

He said SMEs, which ac­count for 86 per cent of the to­tal work­force in the coun­try, are the chief en­ablers of eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion, in­no­va­tion and the shift to a knowl­edge-based econ­omy,

In his key­note ad­dress on the fi­nal day of Mena-Oecd Work­ing Group on SME Pol­icy and En­trepreneur­ship, Al Man­souri said SMEs ac­count for more than 94 per cent of the com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in the UAE and their to­tal num­ber is 350,000.

"As many as 73 per cent com­pa­nies in the whole­sale and retail trade and 16 per cent in the ser­vices sec­tor are SMEs. The man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor also has an 11 per cent share for SMEs. To­gether, th­ese SMEs con­trib­ute to 86 per cent of the to­tal work­force in the UAE and ac­count for a GDP share of 60 per cent," said Al Man­souri.

The min­is­ter men­tioned some of the strate­gic mea­sures be­ing taken to­wards the goal of achiev­ing a GDP share of 70 per cent from the SME sec­tor by 2021.

"The Pres­i­dent, His High­ness Shaikh Khal­ifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is­sued the Fed­eral Law No: 2 of 2014 to reg­u­late the re­la­tion­ship be­tween all govern­ment in­sti­tu­tions and en­trepreneurs of small and medium en­ter­prises sec­tor. The law is a turn­ing point in em­pow­er­ing peo­ple and re­al­is­ing the as­pi­ra­tions of our younger gen­er­a­tion," said Al Man­souri.

"In June 2015, the Cab­i­net headed by His High­ness Shaikh Mo­hammed bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, Vice Pres­i­dent and Prime Min­is­ter of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, also es­tab­lished a coun­cil to drive growth of SMEs and en­trepreneurs in the coun­try," Al Man­souri said, adding that re­gional and in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion will help achieve the SME de­vel­op­ment goals of the coun­try," added the Min­is­ter.

The two days of dis­cus­sions fo­cussed on re­forms and im­prove­ments re­quired to ac­cel­er­ate the growth of SMEs in the re­gion. Del­e­gates ex­plored ar­eas for greater co-op­er­a­tion be­tween the Oecd and coun­tries of the GCC. Mean­while, the Mena-Oecd Work­ing Group on SME and En­trepreneur­ship Pol­icy, held on the se­cond day brought to­gether Mena pol­i­cy­mak­ers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from SME agen­cies, the pri­vate sec­tor and re­gional and in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions to de­fine pri­or­ity ar­eas of work to sup­port en­ter­prise growth, ac­cess to fi­nance and SME in­te­gra­tion in global value chains.

Am­bas­sador Marie-Claire Sward Capra, Deputy Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Per­ma­nent Del­e­ga­tion of Swe­den to the Oecd, and Co-Chair of the Mena-Oecd Com­pet­i­tive­ness Pro­gramme said the meet­ing in Dubai had pro­vided an im­por­tant oc­ca­sion for Mena and Oecd part­ners to strengthen their com­mit­ment to­wards SME de­vel­op­ment.

"SMEs and en­trepreneurs, es­pe­cially women and young en­trepreneurs of­fer a great op­por­tu­nity for the de­vel­op­ment of the Mena re­gion when the right poli­cies are put in place. The Oecd and Swe­den will re­main ac­tive and en­gaged in sup­port­ing the Mena re­gion in this en­deav­our," said the am­bas­sador.

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