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Please invest in Dubai. Please

Please invest in Dubai. Please

The government is planning to introduce new measures to attract investors into the country. Will it succeed?

May 18, 2009 10:54 by

Foreigners may soon be able to fully own businesses outside economic free zones in the UAE, reports Khaleej Times. The idea is to increase foreign investment into the country, said officials.

“We are trying to push 100 percent ownership for the whole country, but Dubai alone cannot do it,” Khalid Al Kassim, the deputy director general for economic and sector development at Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) said on Sunday.

Government officials of all the emirates are now evaluating the benefits and costs of taking such a step, he said, adding that the federal government is also examining laws governing property and business ownership and will introduce new steps to attract more investors. He did not give a time frame for the introduction of these new rules.

Currently, foreigners need a local sponsor to own at least 51 percent of the company if they want to set up shop outside free zones.

But that’s not the only change that the authorities are considering; Sami Al Qamzi, the director general of the DED told Gulf News that they are freezing an increase in the fees and costs for businesses in Dubai, and that they will also support the development of small and medium sized enterprises in the city.

“We are trying to revise procedures and policy for business. If we see business ideas that are good for Dubai, we are ready to change the law and regulations for that. We have to be very flexible,” Khalid Al Kassim told the paper.

DED and Dubai’s Department of Finance have submitted a report to reduce registration fees, a move which is expected to be officially announced next month, reports Emirates Business.

The DED is also in the final stages of setting up an online system for registering business names in Dubai, says Gulf News. After a person or company submits an application to register a business name, they will be notified within an hour whether the registration is successful or not.

Mohammad Shael, CEO of business registration and licensing at the DED has said that many more e-services will be introduced soon to reduce the time it takes to register a business and get a business license.

Dubai is also hoping to make changes to the property visas given to foreign home owners in the UAE, said Nasser Al Sheikh, the director general of Dubai’s Department of Finance at the World Economic Forum in Jordan. He said the changes are necessary because of a sharp downturn in the emirate’s real estate market.

From June, Dubai will start issuing six month multi-entry property visas to foreigners who invested at least AED1 million in a property in the emirate, and who earn a minimum of AED10,000 or its equivalent in foreign currencies. They will have to leave the country every six months, and pay AED2,000 to renew the visa.

Will the government’s planned changes draw investors to Dubai?  And will they help revive the emirate’s property market?

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