Over 20,000 requirements to set up businesses in Abu Dhabi have been cancelled as part of the ongoing massive procedural overhaul led by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED).

Having grown to a total of 26 participating local and federal partner entities, the reductions exercise first unveiled in August and amounting to 71% of the total 28,788 requirements previously in place, aims to facilitate investment and ease of doing business in the emirate.

The cancellations of requirements made by ADDED and multiple local and federal partner entities, effectively align the emirate’s regulatory environment with economic growth priorities and span various sectors such as healthcare, transportation, food and agriculture, public health, and environment.

ADDED will continue to capitalise on further collaborations with other government entities as it focusses on building an open and efficient integrated business environment, thus positioning the emirate as the preferred place to do business, both regionally and globally.

As a sample from the 26 participating entities in the ADDED-led effort, the Department of Municipalities and Transport’s (DMT) Public Health sector reduced requirements by 95% from 9,654 to 511 requirements covering 1215 activities, with its Transport sector reducing requirements by 78% from 523 to 115 requirements; the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) reduced by 74% from 6,587 to 1,716 requirements covering 288 activities; the Abu Dhabi Sports Council reduced by 91% from 949 to 82 requirements covering 58 activities; the Department of Health reduced by 56% from 1512 to 672 requirements covering 84 activities; Abu Dhabi Police reduced by 79% from 387 to 80 requirements; the Securities and Commodities Authority reduced by 40% from 1160 to 700 requirements.

In addition to leading the effort and drawing on international best practices to define the standards that guided the process, ADDED reduced its licensing requirements.

Total requirements for 118 business activities regulated by ADDED were reduced from 709 to 162: a 77% drop.

The requirements of other ADDED-regulated business activities were reduced to just one, such as in the case of automotive parts and maintenance.

Commenting on the major step, Rashed Abdulkarim Al Blooshi, Undersecretary of the Department, stated, “The Government of Abu Dhabi’s decision to reduce the combined commercial activities’ licenses requirements demonstrates its readiness to take practical steps wherever necessary to promote the emirate’s competitiveness regionally and globally.”

He added: “We are telling the world that Abu Dhabi will continuously seek to enhance its regulations, systems, and services making up the ecosystem necessary for any businesses and investors to thrive. In Abu Dhabi, public institutions play a proactive role in providing an accommodating environment for business and investment, and this is something we will continue to do as we transform the emirate’s economy.”

Sameh Al Qubaisi - Executive Director of ADDED’s Executive Affairs Office – elaborated: “Abu Dhabi’s multi-pronged economic diversification strategy is aimed at developing a globally competitive business environment for all. Our ongoing efforts toward facilitating an optimal business-friendly marketplace are testament to our goal of attracting innovative global talents from all sectors and industries, thus reinforcing a strong knowledge-based economy.”

He explains further, "We introduced our user-friendly 'Investor Journey' portal, showcased at GITEX Technology Week 2021, to support investors with the information and services required to set up a commercial business in Abu Dhabi. Other incentives we introduced include fee reductions, and these efforts combined will strengthen Abu Dhabi's global position as a business-friendly destination."

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