As a member of one of the older Emirati trading families in Dubai and being exposed to different facets of the economy during my exciting career, I take pride in how the UAE has extended support to businesses. I would like to cite two personal examples to illustrate my point.
My family had started a small car workshop called Gargash Auto, which went into disarray with time, around 16 years ago. Fast forward to 2014, the company was struggling, and the then manager decided to move on.
Another significant point is the updated trade licence processes, which allowed us to register as an LLC opening up better finance options to expand our scope. In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic struck, and the authorities stepped in to protect the lives of everyone in the country. We had just started operations at our hospital. We prepared internally for the worst-case scenario and discussed the general pandemic impact over phone calls I remember to date.
Guidelines from the government were clear on how to operate, meaning we could utilise our doctors effectively and treat patients. Hospital bills like insurance claims were pushed through a centralised programme that kept us running and I can say with certainty, lives were saved through the actions taken by the Dubai Health Authority during the lockdown.
I’m not downplaying the challenges businesses in the UAE face, in general. We all went through the pandemic together, and I have had other businesses that slowed down or even failed. I do, however, want to point out the support received which continues to this day. The nature of businesses is that risks exist, but with positive steps taken to bolster the economy, we strive forward. We can even be hopeful.
Through these small examples, I’m hoping to show the progression of how things built up from where it was to where it is and though I’m no oracle, I’m optimistic.
To support Expo 2020 Dubai, the government has announced a range of user-friendly regulations in various sectors, for example, online payment platforms like Stripe to operate in the UAE. In immigration, the UAE’s Golden Visa initiative boosts entrepreneurship and social development.
Even capacity-building of local labour is being worked on with Nafis, which aims to boost competitiveness in the private sector across the UAE by including a mix of subsidies and new regulations to local workers.
These things didn’t exist when I began my career. I encourage people to consider these options, despite global challenges in the wake of Covid-19 and be hopeful that we are heading forward in the right direction because of our wise and visionary leadership.
(The author is the managing director of AJG Holding)