Projects in Dubai to continue as scheduled

Nasser Al Shaikh, Director-General of Dubai Department of Finance, has stressed infrastructure projects in Dubai, including Roads and Transport Authority plans and the new airport in Jebel Ali, would continue as scheduled in Dubai Strategic Plan for 2015. He said due to the global financial crisis and new challenges that Dubai may face, there would be some postponements in real estate projects. However, he stressed the property projects that are under construction or have been announced would go ahead as planned. Al Shaikh said the Supreme Financial Committee studying challenges of the financial crisis would also study challenges facing Dubai Strategic Plan and introduce due revisions and amendments to the plan according to the new developments. « We were expecting a growth rate of 11 per cent annually until 2015, but with the current situation this will not be achieved. However, Dubai will continue to witness growth in its economy, but at lower rates. » He said the financial crisis would lead to essential changes in the business models around the world and the target of the committee is to make Dubai the first place to rebound when the recovery of the global economy starts. « There is no country immune to such crisis and we will continue to study its implications to deal with its expected impact, » he added. Al Shaikh acknowledged that there was a lack of transparency in the past and he promised to be open regarding the outcome of the committee’s work. He also announced that Dubai would revive and restructure a special panel, which was formulated 18 months ago to look at Dubai credit rating. « The work of this panel was inactive in the past because its rule was not critical and we had easy access to credit. Now, the panel has become critical and we will activate its performance next year, » he added. Regarding the UAE’s banks recovery plan of Dh70bn, Al Shaikh stressed the second instalment of the plan worth Dh25bn was under process at the Ministry of Finance and would be introduced by the end of next week. Mohamed Ali Alabbar, Chairman of the committee and also Chairman of Emaar Properties, is expected to reveal details of the committee’s work next week. Other members of the committee include Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, Mohammed Al Shaibani, Chairman of Dubai Islamic Bank, and Essa Kazim, Chairman of Borse Dubai. Mohamad Al Kady