Saudi re­form boost for UAE Di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion will have pos­i­tive ef­fect

7 Days in Dubai - - BUSINESS - By Pa­trick Ryan @ThatPad­dyRyan pa­

Saudi Ara­bia’s trans­for­ma­tion plan will have a long-term pos­i­tive im­pact on the UAE.

That was the ver­dict from Me­na­corp CEO Fathi Ben Grira who said that “Saudi Ara­bia is fi­nally do­ing what the UAE did years ago” in di­ver­si­fy­ing its econ­omy away from oil.

“This di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion will have a pos­i­tive ef­fect,” he said.

“We have a ser­vice-ori­en­tated econ­omy here in the UAE and we can bring our ex­per­tise there.

“The ben­e­fits are sub­stan­tial, Saudi Ara­bia will need ex­per­tise to trans­form their econ­omy and when you have a proven suc­cess story next door it is log­i­cal to seek in­spi­ra­tion from there.”

One of the main fo­cuses of the trans­for­ma­tion plan is to re­duce the amount of pub­lic spend­ing, which strongly im­plies that govern­ment jobs will be at risk, which, in turn, will have an ad­verse ef­fect on money be­ing spent by visi­tors to the UAE.

“In the short term there will be a neg­a­tive im­pact, of course peo­ple will then spend less when they come to the UAE but you have to look at the big­ger pic­ture, it is short-term suf­fer­ing with mid to long-term pros­per­ity at the end of it,” Grira said.

But a lead­ing en­ergy ex­pert has ques­tioned how Saudi Ara­bia will meet its tar­get of pro­duc­ing 17.8 bil­lion cu­bic feet per day by 2020.

Robin Mills, CEO of UAE-based Qama En­ergy, said he strug­gled to see how Saudi would reach that fig­ure.

Mills said: “They haven’t said where it’s com­ing from and it’s a big,

big in­crease.”

He added that Saudi’s plans for nu­clear en­ergy will have a huge im­pact on the re­gion.

“It looks like Saudi is go­ing to get se­ri­ous about nu­clear power,” he said.

“Ev­ery­one has been look­ing at Saudi and watch­ing for some­thing to hap­pen. Now you might see a lot of other coun­tries fol­low­ing.”

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