Sheikh Hamdan presiding over the Executive Council meeting at the newly-inaugurated Mohammed bin Rashid Library in Dubai on Thursday.

Dubai’s gross domestic product sustained an upward growth momentum with the economy rising 5.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2022, as investors reposed trust in the emirate’s consistent economic policies and flexible legislative environment.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, disclosed this while presiding over the Executive Council meeting at the newly-inaugurated Mohammed bin Rashid Library in Dubai on Thursday.

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, was also present on the occasion.

Transport, hospitality lead

Sheikh Hamdan said Dubai’s economy hit Dh102 billion during the January-March quarter after hitting 6.2 per cent GDP growth in 2021, which confirms the emirate’s solid performance and its ability to adapt and grow..

Transport and warehousing activities led the GDP growth in first quarter while hospitality sector, including hotels and restaurants, also contributed a significant share due to higher international visitors during the period, according to the Dubai Statistics Centre.

“The transport and warehousing activity recorded 40.4 per cent year-on-year growth during the first quarter,” it said.

In an earlier report, Emirates NBD estimated that Dubai grew about 5.5 per cent for the full year 2021, an upward revision from its earlier forecast of four per cent.

“Dubai’s growth is forecast to remain robust at 4.2 per cent in 2021, driven by its core sectors such as trade, retail, and tourism,” according to Institute of International Finance.

Diversified economic agenda

The Crown Prince affirmed that Dubai’s ability to record sustained economic growth has been driven by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which is based on creating and realising new opportunities. By looking to the future with limitless ambition, the Emirate has continued to cement its position as a competitive global business hub.

Sheikh Hamdan further said that Dubai’s growth and resilience have been achieved amidst economic challenges. “The Emirate’s economic agenda is supported by a regulatory and legislative framework that attracts investments and protects the rights of investors,” he said.

He emphasised that the government’s attractive fiscal measures directly helped to stimulate economic growth in Dubai. The global success of Expo 2020 Dubai was a key factor in driving a post-pandemic tourism boom, leading to increased air and sea traffic and record foreign trade.

Monica Malik, chief economist of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), said the Dubai economy is expected to sustain the growth momentum despite some global challenges.

“The strong momentum from the beginning of the year is positive, though we expect the global developments to provide headwinds to the Dubai economy in second half of 2022. This includes weaker global growth and a strong US dollar, and thus the UAE Durham,” Malik told Khaleej Times.

She said the Fed’s aggressive rate hiking cycle will also have an impact on the dirham peg with the dollar.

“The ongoing focus on reform is positive and should continue to bolster the medium-term outlook,” she said.

Dubai bucks the trend

Atik Munshi, managing partner, FinExpertiza UAE, said Dubai achieved higher growth at a time when major global economies fear recession due to higher energy and commodity prices.

“Dubai has always tried to buck the trend through its progressive corporate line of thinking. This has given positive results in the past and I think the same will continue in the future,” Munshi told Khaleej Times on Thursday.

“In contrast to the forecast, Dubai and UAE has proved that it is resilient and fight any negative trend. A large number of HNW individuals have migrated in the recent past to the UAE as they find this country as the best possible option. More positive news may be in store in the next quarter too,” he said.

Jitendra Gianchandani, chairman and managing partner of Jitendra Consulting Group, said the UAE leadership was very proactive and took very prompt and smart decisions since pandemic had begun.

“From long-term visas to monetary relief to the business has infused trust among their global investors in Dubai’s economy,” Gianchandani told Khaleej Times on Thursday.

Flexible legislation

The Executive Council also approved a series of initiatives and projects across strategic sectors.

The Executive Council also approved the general policy on legislation in the Emirate of Dubai, within a framework compatible with Dubai’s strategic growth strategy and futuristic plans, taking into account the active participation of the private sector in reviewing and measuring its legislative impact to enhance Dubai’s global competitiveness.

The policy is focused on aligning government procedures on legislative matters with the procedures approved by the committee. It also seeks to unify the process of drafting laws, enhancing regulatory work, defining the roles assigned to them in formulating and simplifying the control procedures of these entities and ensuring access to an agile, integrated system that keeps pace with the future. This is in line with the changes that the Emirate is making to build a model compatible with its ambitions.

Hassantuk for Homes Safety Project

The Executive Council also directed the General Department of Civil Defence to present an implementation plan for the ‘Hassantuk for Homes’ project — the only certified wireless fire safety system designed for villas in the UAE.

Hassantuk ensures the fastest response time for fire and emergency alerts through a 24×7 connected fire alarm system, integrated with Civil Defence Command Centres. The Dubai government will bear the cost of providing Emiratis homes, covered under the umbrella of social benefits, with the system designed to improve safety measures.

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