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JLT promises to speed up licences.

Byline: Suzanne Fenton, Staff Reporter

Dubai: Licensing procedures at Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) have been simplified to attract more companies, according to senior officials.

Ahmad Bin Sulayem, executive chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), said cutting back on the number of documents required to apply for a licence are among measures taken to generate greater interest among investors.

"The process is now simpler and faster for everyone with the initial stage being completed within a few days. Our team of licensing officers ensures that the majority of licenses are processed within a couple of weeks and even faster if we have all the required documentation in order from the start," Bin Sulayem said.

However, a business analyst with around 10 offices of his own in the UAE said this is not the case.

"It is more complicated [in JLT] because of the increasing number of documents and the way they want these documents," the analyst told Gulf News, requesting anonymity.

There are currently 1,700 companies operating out of the JLT free zone and a resident base of around 10,000 in 34 towers, including 18 residential towers.

An average of 30 companies are being registered a month in DMCC, Bin Sulayem said.

The DMCC offers two types of licences - one solely for the commodities sector and the other for a wide range of commercial activities.

Although initially JLT was the free zone that companies in the commodities industry flocked to, there are now several hundred businesses there dealing in trading, manufacturing, energy, property, electronics and shipping.

Companies already in JLT include Emirates NBD, ConocoPhillips International Trading, Emirates Shipping Line, Petronas and Christie's.

Around 50 of the proposed 87 towers in the JLT will be completed and fully operational by the end of this year, said Bin Sulayem.

About 70 towers will be finished next year and the whole project is due for completion in 2012.

According to a recent report by the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank, the whole Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region picked up the pace of business regulatory reform faster than any other region.

Because of such speed, 17 out of 19 economies in the region passed regulatory reforms to create opportunities for domestic entrepreneurs.

The UAE became one of the world's 10 most active reformers following the recent government announcement that the minimum capital requirement for business start-ups has been eliminated and registration procedures simplified, said the report.

Thus, for those private developers in JLT who are still building or looking for investors, they should direct their attention to the commodities market, Bin Sulayem added.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Sep 14, 2009
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