This is according to Mr. Ali bin Salim Al Mahmoud, General Manager of the Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD), who says that an investor-friendly climate, flexible legal framework, simple procedures and a fair tax system, in addition to the provision of funding resources and qualified human resources with competitive costs all contributed towards the significant contribution of Sharjah’s industrial sector to the economy of the emirate.
Al Mahmoud, who recently attended a meeting with the organizing committee of the Private Economic Zones Forum 2009, praised its efforts, saying that statistics and figures presented at seminars and discussions hosted during the forum certainly grabbed the attention of forum participants, and that these statistics reflect the progress the emirate of Sharjah has made towards building a progressive economic revolution with multiple resources and activities.
In his address, Al Mahmoud, whose department plays a pivotal role in highlighting various opportunities, business sectors and places of investment in the country, said:
“The conversion industries sector has the highest added value among the various sectors. This sector, which is targeted by the government, is used as a means to achieve sustainable growth, either backwards towards raw materials, or forward towards medium and final products. This sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stands at 17.84%, a percentage that requires us to support this sector to reach ever higher, especially considering its ability to attract an abundant workforce, thus reducing unemployment.”
“With the rapid growth of this sector, total assets will increase, provided that the capital / work correlation is properly adjusted to fit available production factors, and that it allows the training of a local workforce, the support of investment through acceleration principles, and an investment multiplier to achieve a more balanced national income,” he added.
He pointed out that forum participants were interested in the various projects that are distributed across the mineral industries by 21%, chemical products by 17%, non-urban mining industries by 15%, furniture and manual craft by 14%, food, beverages and tobacco by 14%, machinery and equipment by 10%, paper and publishing industries by 4%, woven, clothes and leather industries by 4%, and other industries by 1%.
“This data provides a comprehensive outlook for strategic planners to develop future industrial investment that is supported by strong diversified capital, whether from the government, the public or the private sectors, or from foreign investors,” he said.
Another point of interest at the forum seemed to be related to workforce and salaries in the emirate of Sharjah. Statistics show that the number of employees in the conversion sector totals 75 758, with combined salaries of Dhs1945bn, which explains the sector’s ability to attract a strong workforce.
Furthermore, Al Mahmoud highlighted the numerous facilities provided for the investors, whether foreign or not, in the industrial sector and other investment sectors. He revealed that the number of industrial districts in the emirate of Sharjah currently amounts to 19; 17 of which are specified for factories, while industrial district no. 18 is specified for expos and warehouses, and industrial district no. 19 makes up Al Sajaa District. In addition, Emirates Industrial City forms an integral location which can be divided to support education in the industry.
During the forum, the positive experiences of some of the region’s most prominent special economic zones were presented, including the economic and industrial zones in the UAE, KSA, Jordan, Tunis and Oman.
In line with this, Ms. Nawal Abdul Razzaq Askar, Economic and Public Relations General Manager, said that the data and statistics provided were guidelines for forum participants to discuss factors of success and the development of special economic zones, with the focus on selecting the appropriate model of economic zone that can be applied in a particular country, and which ideally suits its economic needs, geographical location, economic competitiveness, existing infrastructure, telecommunication facilities and transport network.
The global financial crisis and its potential implications for special economic zones was also thoroughly analyzed during a special session, where issues such as funding of resources, direction of foreign investment flow, international trade movement, protectionism and export restrictions were examined.
Speakers underlined the necessity of taking advantage of the ongoing economic crisis, and of being prepared to face the coming period, saying that success can be achieved when the Arab countries set strategies that focus on improving the investment climate, developing infrastructure, training human resources, establishing alliances between special economic zones, adopting common standards, and by simplifying procedures.
During a special ceremony held at the department’s headquarters, Al Mahmoud honored the organizing committee of the Private Economic Zones Forum 2009, acknowledging their hard work in making the forum a success.
Members of the committee include: Nawal Abdul Razzaq Askar, Fatima Ahmed Al Shamsi, Aisha Yousef Al Hamadi, Aisha Hamid Al Owayes, Samira Haroon Ali, Nadir Al Sayed Abdul Rahim, Mousa Housni Sayed Ahmed, Abdullah Ali Al Mahmoud, Abdul Aziz Omar Al Midfa’, Ali Salih Al Ali, Arif Zaynal Al Zaroni, Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Abduli, Omar Ma’thad Al Sarri, Hilal Saad Al Muheri, Islam Mohammed Al Hosni, Mohammed Isaac Ali, Yousef Ghalum Mohammed, Iman Abdullah Al Ali and Ali Al Naqbi.
Thursday, May 28- 2009 @ 15:22 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.