May 30 2012
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Jafza targets 400 new businesses by year-end
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Dubai: Companies operating out of the Jebel Ali Free Zone employ 170,000 people, roughly a tenth of Dubai’s workforce, Gulf News has learnt.
The emirate is home to more than 2.04 million residents, with approximately 1.6 million in the workforce.
Jebel Ali Free Zone , one of the world’s largest free zones, attracted 100 new companies during the first quarter of this year, taking the total number to 6,700 — one of the largest concentrations of businesses operating within a single cluster.
“A combination of an excellent investment atmosphere and a customer-centric business policy have helped raise the number of investors to 6,700 so far,” he added.
Investors in the free zone account for 40 per cent of the total foreign direct investment in Dubai as well as 50 per cent of the total exports from the free zones, Al Janahi said.
The contribution of all free zones in Dubai to the emirate’s gross domestic product (GDP) is 25 per cent, with companies in Jebel Ali accounting for 20 per cent.
Despite challenging market conditions, the number of industrial companies in Jebel Ali Free Zone increased 4.5 per cent in 2011, with 34 new industries being set up.
Al Janahi said that 95 per cent of the available storage space is occupied, prompting the authority to invest in expansion.
“We have just finalised the first phase of our logistics expansion and very soon we are going to build new buildings in Jebel Ali Free Zone to meet the growth in demand,” he said.
TechnoPark, the technology arm of Economic Zones World, expects infrastructure projects worth over Dh70 million to be completed by year-end. The projects include a comprehensive road network and accommodation projects worth Dh20 million.
Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), said the utility’s total investment in the Jebel Ali Free Zone is Dh4.6 billion. In the free zone alone, Dewa has five main stations with a capacity of 150MV and 1,423 distribution boards, Al Tayer said.
Dubai The UAE’s growing number of free zones need a unified set of investment and registration regulations to help investors, a top official said.
There are more than 50 free zones in the UAE spread across the seven emirates that come under the jurisdiction of the local governments. Dubai has created the Dubai Free Zones Council to coordinate across the various entities.
Talal Al Hashemi, Managing Director of the Economic Zones World, suggested a unified law to regulate all free zones across the UAE. “Despite the significant role of the Dubai Free Zones Council, we need to unify and regulate the work process within Dubai. We also need to include the free zones’ products in all free trade agreements,” he said.
By Zaher Bitar, Staff Reporter
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