Dubai introduces hassle free licensing system to attract investors

Updated 29 April 2014
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Dubai introduces hassle free licensing system to attract investors

Do you wish to start a business in Dubai? Then you may start it immediately. No need to wait to complete your licensing formalities. The investor may complete the rest of the licensing requirements, such as approvals from other government authorities concerned, within the next 120 days.
The system, which is known as ‘120 days hassle free license’ is part of smart services.
“This will be implemented from May 15," Department of Economic Development (DED) officials told a press conference.
“This is in line with the Dubai Smart Government. The initiative aims to transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world through 100 targeted initiatives and 1,000 smart services, which will improve quality of living in Dubai."
The 120 days hassle-free license allows the businessman to start his business immediately and complete the rest of the licensing requirements within the next 120 days. DED issues the license depending on the risk factors of the intended business activity.
However, government authorities are entitled to ensure full compliance of the license holder to the license criteria on day 121.
The DED in partnership with other government authorities has also announced the automation of the Memorandum of Association.
With the electronic memorandum of association for partnership companies one of the partners can register online and enter all details of other partners following which the system will contact each partner with a brief description of the license.
Once all partners confirm their application electronically the system will ask each of them to use their ‘My ID’ username and password to log in to their respective account to approve the Memorandum of Association. The Ejari number should be entered to generate the payment voucher and the license will appear on the smart phone as soon as the payment is completed.
“We are progressively bringing our service delivery on to a smart platform and have already launched smart applications such as Sallety, which is the first of its kind in the region. Such initiatives also show that the private and public sectors can work together and align their strategies to ensure competitiveness and added value to customers,” said Sami Al-Qamzi, director general of DED.
“We thank all related government authorities for the co-operation extended to our smart initiatives,” he added.
The officials also stated that a comprehensive guidebook on starting business in Dubai will be made available on DED website which will make it easier for investors to start and do business in Dubai.
Different department heads addressed the media during the press conference.


UAE regulators ask corporates to declare exposure to Abraaj

Updated 24 min 55 sec ago
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UAE regulators ask corporates to declare exposure to Abraaj

  • Air Arabia admits $336 million exposure to Abraaj funds.
  • Abraaj sells its Latam, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and Turkey Funds to Colony Capital.

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates’ top securities regulator has asked UAE-listed companies to declare their exposure to Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj, which filed for provisional liquidation last week.
The Securities & Commodities Authority sent a letter earlier this week and companies had until Thursday to submit their responses, Obaid Al-Zaabi, chief executive of the regulator, told Reuters.
Air Arabia, a Dubai-listed low-cost carrier, said this week that it had a $336 million exposure to Abraaj, which is the Middle East’s biggest private equity firm. Shares in the airline plunged because of these links.
Al-Zaabi said some companies in the UAE had exposure to Abraaj, without naming them.
A court in the Cayman Islands, where Abraaj Holdings is registered, ordered this week that PwC be appointed as provisional liquidators of the company and Deloitte as liquidators of Abraaj Investment Management Ltd.
Abraaj said that the latest restructuring agreement has received in-principle regulatory approval and is expected to close upon approval from the Cayman Islands court and other customary consents.
On Thursday, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), which is the regulator of the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), said it would discuss “various matters” with the liquidators and “will continue to work toward safeguarding the interests of investors.”
The DFSA is involved because Abraaj has an entity regulated in DIFC.
Abraaj Group agreed to sell its Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and Turkey Funds management business to US investment management firm Colony Capital Inc, the companies said on Thursday.
The sale agreement comes after months of turmoil at Abraaj in the wake of its dispute with four of its investors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and International Finance Corp. (IFC), over the use of their money in a $1 billion health care fund. The group has denied it misused the funds.
The sale is part of a provisional liquidation and restructuring as set out in a court order. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Colony Capital has also agreed to oversee, on an interim basis, other Abraaj group funds that are not being acquired so that the group and all its stakeholders have a “comprehensive global solution in place,” the companies said.
The other group funds include the $1 billion health care fund, and some legacy funds of the private equity group.
Sources told Reuters earlier that US buyout firm TPG was in talks with investors in Abraaj’s health care fund to take over management of the assets of the $1 billion fund.
The K-Electric asset, which is being sold in Pakistan and is owned by Abraaj Holdings, is also not part of the transaction.
Colony’s deal comes after other investors such as Cerberus Capital Management had also made offers for the Abraaj business before it filed for provisional liquidation in the Cayman Islands.
A unit of Abu Dhabi Financial Group earlier this week made a conditional offer to buy Abraaj’s management interest in all of its limited partnerships for $50 million, according to a document seen by Reuters.
Since Abraaj’s row with some investors became public early this year, it split its investment management business and holding company, while its founder Arif Naqvi stepped aside from the day-to-day running of its private equity fund unit and the firm halted its investment activities.
Tom Barrack, executive chairman of Colony Capital, said that he hoped that the transaction would enable the process of rebuilding on all sides and also bring an end to the speculation that has swirled around Abraaj over the past months.