The Business Year

Sultan Abdullah bin Hadda Al Suwaidi Chairman, Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD)

UAE - Economy

Sultan Abdullah bin Hadda Al Suwaidi

Chairman, Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD)

Bio

Sultan Abdullah bin Hadda Al Suwaidi has been Chairman of SEDD since 2012. Prior to being appointed Chairman, he served as secretary general of the Sharjah Consultative Council from 1999-2012 and director of membership affairs and transactions at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry from 1988-1999. Since 2012, he has been a member of the Sharjah Executive Council, the Emirates Standardization Authority Council, and the Economic Coordination and Cooperation Committee. He holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration/politics from UAE University in Al Ain.

As a result of the efforts of Sharjah and SEDD, FDI and entrepreneurship in the Emirate have continued to steadily grow, even in the last two years.

What is your assessment of the economic response of the Sharjah government to COVID-19?

The economic structure of Sharjah is free from any structural flaws or imbalances; no one economic sector accounts for the largest segment of the structure of the national accounts of the Emirate. Sharjah also represents an ideal environment not just for business, but for living as well. This is an outcome of governmental public spending on economic and social infrastructure. Moreover, the period that followed the crisis also demonstrated that the recession during the crisis was temporary, as current evidence indicates that individuals did not leave, travel, or emigrate from the Emirate throughout the crisis. This shows the strength of the Emirate’s economy and its economic response to government support.

Sharjah has announced plans to award 100% ownership in commercial and industrial companies to foreign investors. What economic impact can we expect from this measure?

Sharjah and SEDD have issued and approved the mechanisms resulting from the application of 100% foreign and investor ownership of companies. This will attract more FDI to the Emirate and encourage the private sector to invest more and expand its activities. This will help to increase the diversification of economic sectors and thus local sources of income. The decision will also improve the performance of companies and raise their competitiveness. Likely, it will help to improve business procedures. We also believe that the decision will help to increase companies’ spending in innovation and development as well as to improve management methods due to the presence of a real beneficiary in the company.

How else is SEDD working to facilitate the journey of foreign investors in Sharjah?

SEDD adopted number of procedures and measures to facilitate things for investors. Such procedures included the rapid implementation of the decisions recommended by the Sharjah Executive Council as well as identifying sectors and activities to be granted to foreign investors. Additionally, SEDD placed guidelines, improved registration of sectors and activities, and intensified media and awareness procedures in order to facilitate investment channels for foreign investors. Also, the department improved its electronic and smart platforms and applications to provide best services.

What is the role of SEDD in unlocking the potential of SMEs and start-ups in Sharjah?

SMEs represent about 98.6% of companies in Sharjah and play a major role in its flexibility and diversity. In addition, SEDD paid great attention to these projects, starting with the development of the Eitimad home licensing and providing support for all, even for students, once they start their entrepreneurship projects. The department also paid special attention to national projects. It also worked on marketing these companies abroad in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy and allowed some facilities in the issuance and renewal of licenses. Moreover, SEDD also developed the economic cooperation of these companies in order to open up to the international bodies that provided technical initiatives for SMEs in Sharjah, such as the cooperation and technical support program via the Korea SMEs and Startups Agency (KOSME).

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