With the UAE actively diversifying its economy and aiming to become less dependent on fossil fuel revenues, its various emirates have been turning their attention to other lucrative sectors that would be able to increase GDP and spread-out economic contribution.
Within Abu Dhabi, the industrial sector has been a growing focus, especially in light of the emirate’s ‘Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy’, under which the government will invest AED 10 billion to more than double the size of Abu Dhabi’s manufacturing sector to AED 172 billion, create 13,600 skilled jobs and increase Abu Dhabi’s non-oil exports by 143 per cent by 2031. In 2021, Abu Dhabi’s industrial sector contributed AED 83 billion to GDP, which represented 8% in contribution to overall GDP and 17% to non-oil GDP.
To support this strategy and overall economic direction, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) established the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB), which aims to regulate and develop the industrial sector in Abu Dhabi per Law No. (8) of 2013.
The IDB acts as a regulatory body for the industrial sector in Abu Dhabi, and is also concerned with meeting the needs of industrial investors, planning and implementing the requirements and enablers of the growth of the industrial sector, and globally increasing Abu Dhabi's competitiveness as a destination for industrial investment. Currently, Abu Dhabi is home to 9 Industrial Zones, spanning a total area exceeding 650 km2.
IDB’s overall duties and responsibilities include:
- To develop and manage industrial sector strategies
- To plan and manage industrial zones
- To regulate industrial regulations and licenses
- To prepare technical studies and analyses for the industrial sector
- To promote the projects and activities of the industrial sector
- To provide regulatory services
- To practise industrial control
- To measure and monitor the industrial sector performance
Currently, IDB offers 9 industrial incentives to support industrial SMEs and corporations:
- Abu Dhabi Local Content Program: aims to redirect government spending toward local goods and services within all government procurements, giving an advantage to local producers and service providers.
- Electricity Tariff Incentive Program: aims to support industrial companies with a high level of automation, productivity, and economic impact. Participating entities are eligible for reduced bulk pricing tariffs.
- Gas Tariff Incentive Program: offers preferential gas and electrical rates to industrial firms to promote their competitiveness.
- Golden list: identifies manufacturers with a high contribution towards the local economy, evaluated through their InCountry Value (ICV) certificate.
- Financial Ecosystem Program: facilitates Abu Dhabi companies with the required monetary support through various financial tools.
- Smart Manufacturing Program: aims to accelerate Abu Dhabi’s industrial sector transformation towards and achieve sustainable growth by leveraging industry 4.0 solutions, via assessment tools and guidance, as well as funding.
- Customs Exemption: to encourage the development of industrial projects.
- Industrial Land Program: offers incentives to encourage FDIs and DDIs, while increasing Industrial land occupancy.
- Industrial Sustainability Program: aims to improve the use of resources and overall sustainability within the sector.
If you are an industrial company, or a local or foreign investor looking to get involved, you can find out more about the Industrial Development Bureau here.