Photo: The UAE Ministry of Finance building in Dubai, UAE, on Dec 9, 2018. Phuong D. Nguyen/Shutterstock

Islamic Finance

UAE outlines economic strategy to face COVID-19 in two phases

Published 29 Jul,2020 via Asharq Alawsat (English Edition) - The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has outlined its economic strategy to face the coronavirus outbreak and said it is based on two main phases.

According to the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance (MoF), Younis Haji al-Khoury, the first is on the short-term.

He said it is the gradual opening of the economy and business activities, while taking into consideration the imposed health measures, and the provision of huge economic support and stimulus plans to the most affected sectors.

Khoury noted that the value of the support provided by the government has amounted to AED282.5 billion ($76.8 billion), in addition to protecting entrepreneurs and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and linking the funds to the beneficiary sectors based on well-defined plans and effective mechanisms.

The second phase, he added, is a long term stimulus economic plan.

It aims at accelerating recovery, advancing growth and working to transform challenges into opportunities to achieve sustainable economic growth by enhancing the flexibility and sustainability of the economic model. It also encourages financing and investment in sectors with high future potential.

Khoury affirmed that UAE’s national economy is strong and resilient and has the ability to overcome such crises.

He also reviewed in the MoF’s e-newsletter, dubbed MoF Index, the most significant sectors with future potentials.

These are the digital economy, which includes artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, IOT, smart cities, and green economy concepts and industries such as renewable energy, electric cars, and circular economy, as well as enhancing productivity by integrating 3D printing technologies and robotics and promoting food security using advanced technologies such as AI, biotechnology, and genetic engineering.

Technology plays a vital role in identifying the industries that are of value-added and localizable, he stressed, adding that this ­is contributes to the UAE’s economic diversification.

In regards to the programs and projects the MoF will launch to manage the next stage, Khoury said the ministry is working on proposing the required policies, legislations, and incentives to support opportunities for the industry across the country.

“This would ensure self-sufficiency and preparation for any future challenges.”

“We will also launch programs to support the health, education, technology, and food security sectors – placing the human factor as the basis of comprehensive development,” he added.

The ministry has also continued to work with the international community to ensure that the UAE builds an economic and geopolitical system that addresses and contains health and environmental disasters and mitigates their effects.

Asked about the ministry’s priorities in the post COVID-19 phases, the MoF Undersecretary said it will submit proposals for draft laws and legislation that address the effects of the global pandemic on the nation.

“We are also working on action plans and setting specific goals to meet urgent development needs.”

He further highlighted addressing the current challenges posed by the novel coronavirus and taking into account the developments in the economic, developmental, community, service, and technological sectors.

On the possibility of announcing an incentive package, Khoury said the MoF makes great efforts to analyze the effects of the pandemic, and it reviews all procedures and re-evaluates fees and assesses the extent of their contribution to reducing the effects of the pandemic.

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