In the presence of senior government officials, diplomats, CEOs, business owners and investors from the UAE’s public and private sectors, the sixth edition of the Sharjah Economic Ramadan Majlis explored how the UAE’s economic stimulus packages have positively impacted major industry sectors, markets and businesses, and recommended response strategies to help businesses in the UAE recover from the coronavirus crisis.
Under the theme, “Impact of the UAE Stimulus Plan on Economic Stability and Growth,” the majlis was convened on May 13, on a virtual platform.
Organized by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), in collaboration with the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), the virtual majlis session focused on four key pillars — economic stimulus package and enhancement of investors’ confidence, lessons learnt from the crisis, vibrant key sectors and creative experiences, and wise vision.
The panel of speakers at the session included Abdulla Al-Saleh, undersecretary of foreign trade and industry, UAE Ministry of Economy; Marwan bin Jassim Al-Sarkal, executive chairman, Shurooq; Fahad Al-Gergawi, CEO, Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI); and Hussain Al-Mahmoudi, CEO, Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTI).
Others speaking at the virtual majlis were Najla Al-Midfa, CEO, Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa); Mohammed Abdallah, CEO, Sharjah Islamic Bank; Mohamed Juma Al-Musharrkh, CEO at Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah); and Sameh Abdulla Al-Qubaisi, deputy director general, Abu Dhabi Investment Office.
Al-Saleh said: “As part of the long-term stimulus plan to speed up recovery and encourage investments, the UAE government’s economic stimulus package targeting the financial and private sector has totaled 282 billion dirhams ($76.7 billion) till date, and will be focused on sectors most directly affected by the pandemic including SMEs.”
He added: “We are accelerating into the digital economy earlier than imagined — our digital goals for 2030 are now being realized in 2020 due to the onset of COVID-19.”
Al-Sarkal reiterated the vital role of the UAE government in providing timely reassurance to the business community through the introduction of a host of stimulus packages. “Sharjah’s current three-month stimulus package is based on the existing realities and may be extended upon reviewing the situation,” he added.
Al-Gergawi said: “This is an overall reality check for our lives, our government strategies and commitments, and our corporate policies. This government and the nation were put on virtual work mode over one weekend, and we did not falter. We are adapting to our new realities and we will come out of this stronger, not just as a nation but as one world.”
He added: “Although some sectors such as tourism, aviation, petrochemicals, and retail took a severe hit, some are seeing a rise in prominence including technology, R&D, health care, education and the food business. The UAE’s preparedness on the digital front is paying dividends now and these high priority sectors will see significant investments in the future.”
Al-Mahmoudi said: “As a nation, the UAE has proven its ability in harnessing technologies and adopting digital transformation strategies to improve productivity and boost economic output.”