International companies would be allowed to hold 100 per cent ownership of businesses they set up in the United Arab Emirates under a new legislation aimed at boosting foreign investment.
Currently, foreigners must have a UAE national as a sponsor and are limited to a maximum 49 per cent ownership of businesses in the Emirates, except in free trade zones scattered around the country.
According to the Economy Minister, Sultan al Mansouri, the legislation will be submitted to the cabinet for approval within two months.
The new industry law would open the door for hi-tech firms offering large capital investments to set up operations here as the government seeks to expand its industrial base and create new jobs.
‘A lot of industries worldwide are very interested to move here, provided there are certain terms and conditions they would like to see in the industrial law,’ Al Mansouri said.
The move is part of a government effort to reduce its reliance on oil and gas revenues which accounted for 38 per cent of the country’s USD 253 billion gross domestic product last year.
The UAE intends to cut its dependency on hydrocarbons to 20 per cent in the next 10-15 years.