The need to continue to build a strong relationship between Dubai’s public and private sectors was stressed by HE Hamad Buamim, Director General, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, at the first Talk Business at Breakfast meeting of 2011.
The networking meeting came as part of the Chamber’s strategy of providing a platform for the public and private sectors to engage in a constructive dialogue.
Buamim pointed out that the networking meeting was part of Dubai Chamber’s efforts in strengthening the partnership between the public and private sectors which is very important for the successful functioning of the business community.
“These events will help the business community to get first-hand knowledge of important business information and updates which will ultimately help them in enhancing their business interests while contributing to the business competitiveness of the Emirate,” he said.
Buamim further added that for many years now Dubai has been the region’s leading business and financial hub, boasting a commercial network to rival many other major economic centres. However, as a business facilitator, the Chamber is continuously striving to improve the Emirate’s business climate with the ultimate aim of making it the world’s best business hub.
The Director General of the Chamber added that the year 2011 promises to be one of sustainable growth for the city as the members’ trade figures are almost back to the pre-crisis levels. “In January, our members’ total exports and re-exports were valued at Dhs19.7bn registering a 24.2% year-on-year growth. Meanwhile, during the same period, the number of exporters increased, as did the number of markets they exported to – both positive indicators of the overall health of Dubai’s economy.”
Buamim lauded the success story of the RTA which he said continues to play a major role in Dubai’s development thanks to the Authority’s strategy of providing the world’s best roads and transport systems including an increasingly popular transport network which directly supports the day-to-day functioning of Dubai businesses. He called upon the business community to capitalize on the Emirate’s world-class transport system.
Buamim took the opportunity to invite the gathering to attend the 4th Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Investment Forum being hosted by the Chamber in Dubai next month.
“This prestigious Forum, on March 23-24, will highlight Dubai’s potential as a gateway to African markets and our ideal location as a strategic hub for trade in and out of the continent. More than 800 government officials, local and international business leaders and investors are expected to attend, underscoring Dubai’s reputation as the leading destination for global exhibitions, events and conferences. Here, we expect a lot of opportunities for our members to be discussed at this event,” he said.
Highlighting the work of the Dubai Land Transport Group, which operates under the umbrella of the Chamber, Buamim informed that the Group, Dubai Chamber and RTA are in close partnership and meet regularly to discuss transport issues which might be effecting businesses, build new partnerships and reach amicable solutions to the benefit of both parties.
Buamim pointed out that the Chamber’s major priority is to build strong alliances, open communication channels with key regional and international trade partners and facilitate networking opportunities for the business community. He hoped the good relationship between the Group and the RTA will continue to strengthen, especially after this visit by the Authority’s Executive Director.
On his part, Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of Roads & Transport Authority, stated that RTA has a track record in cooperation and partnerships with the private sector in carrying out various infrastructure projects in roads sector (roads, bridges, tunnels and crossings) as well as various transport systems. He informed that the private sector has carried out road and transport system projects for the RTA to the tune of more than Dhs50bn over the past five years.
Said Al Tayer, “The projects, intended to be carried out by the RTA in its Strategic Plan 2020 involving a broad spectrum of cooperation with the private sector, include the construction of new flyovers and ring roads relating to residential and commercial locations together with a comprehensive program for upgrading mass transportation systems comprising the Metro and Tram system to the highest global standards. It also encompasses upgrading the marine transit networks (Abras, Water Bus, Water Taxi, and Ferry Dubai), and public bus networks as well as the construction of bridges and pedestrian subways.”
He added, “Among the key projects undertaken in partnership with the private sector is the construction of the air-conditioned bus shelters where the RTA has signed an exclusive B.O.T. contract entailing the Building, Operating & Transferring the ownership of shelters to the RTA after 10 years. The Authority has completed the construction of more than 800 air-conditioned shelters all over Dubai, and this vital project has contributed in attracting commuters to use the public transport through the excellent services in place.”
The RTA Executive Director stressed that there are promising opportunities for the private sector to participate in the design, implementation, operation and maintenance projects planned by RTA in the roads and transport sector. He also emphasised on the business opportunities in advertising and shop rentals and the naming rights of the Dubai Metro stations, noting that the Authority will soon be renting shops in the Green Line, in addition to shops remaining in the Red Line.
He further said that the RTA’s partnership committee working with the private sector is in the process of floating the initial marine transit projects for the private sector with the aim of reducing the cost of operating and maintaining the marine transit modes to the government, and accordingly attract future investment to the marine transport infrastructure.
“This project comprises the operation of a few strategic lines necessary for providing marine transit modes in the Emirate; which also entails the reduction of the Government subsidy to the minimum level, while allowing the private sector with the freedom of suggesting innovative means and options for operating and managing other lines as well as selling or leasing marine transit modes,” said Al Tayer.
He also informed that the RTA has finalized the policy of partnership with the private sector in transport projects and services, and prepared a manual for engaging in partnerships with them in transport infrastructure projects covering the concepts, features, objectives and interactions involved in the partnership model with the private sector. The Authority has also finalized the preparation of a draft law regulating the partnership between the public and private sectors at the Dubai Emirate level, taking into consideration the recommendations of the UN in this regard.
He stressed that this Law comprises the definitions, objectives, and scope of application as well as the organizational unit of partnership, parameters of selecting private sector entities, provisions of the partnership contract, transfer procedures and settlement of disputes.
The RTA has also developed the provisional assessment mechanism for identifying the priorities of the infrastructure and transport services projects in which the RTA can enter in partnership with the private sector, besides resetting the Organizational Chart of the Commercial Affairs and Investment Department where the Investment and Partnership with the Private Sector is introduced, said Al Tayer.