Sharjah Crown Prince attends sessions of Sharjah Forum: Future Challenges and Opportunities
Panellists discussed ways to develop investment sector in the emirate Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi: Building human capital and serving citizens are priority in government agenda His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah yesterday (Sunday) attended the Sharjah Forum: Future Challenges and Opportunities, which was organised by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), with the aim of discussing and presenting opportunities and challenges in the Emirate and enabling decision makers in the government sector in of Sharjah to reinforce the position of the Emirate as a leading investment hub in the region and drive its economic competitiveness in the long run. Held at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre in Sharjah, the forum was attended by Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi, Chairman of Central Finance Department in Sharjah, Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Urban Planning Council, Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations in Sharjah and a number of Chairpersons and directors of Sharjah Government authorities and entities. His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi affirmed that His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has a great vision for the emirate of Sharjah, based on building its human capital and addressing educational and cultural development needs, as well as on the development of infrastructure that meet the needs of residents and visitors, alike, help boost economic growth in Sharjah and maintain the Emirate’s position in the region and beyond. His Highness added that providing services to citizens and residents must be a priority on the agenda of government authorities and departments in the Emirate, to ensure visitors of those departments are happy with their experience. His Highness the Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah urged directors of government departments in the emirate of Sharjah to follow up on staff and to encourage them to simplify procedures and accelerate service delivery to the public. His Highness added that the development of infrastructure in the Emirate and offering competitive advantages would help attract investors and contribute to diversifying sources of income, stressing that he is looking forward to greater collaboration among shareholders in Sharjah’s government sector to offer their services to clients in an easy and fast way to attract more investors to the Emirate. In the opening speech she delivered in the forum, Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi said: “Sharjah is experiencing an unprecedented growth, at all levels, and we, as part of this growth, must share our insight, frankness and optimism, work together as one family and leverage the opportunities and potentials, in order to move toward future”. Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi added: “Thanks to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah and the directions of decision makers in the Emirate, from the members of the executive council, to the chairpersons and directors of government authorities and entities, and to the efforts of employees, Sharjah has continued development of different aspects of life in the Emirate, over the last few years. This approach has helped drive investment to the Emirate to tap into its potential.” She added that studying and discussing the current investment challenges in Sharjah would help develop future plans that contribute to solidifying the economy, increasing economic diversification, and achieving the desired social development for residents and visitors, alike. The forum included three consecutive panel sessions in presence of senior officials and decision makers. Titled ‘Investment Opportunities in Sharjah’, panellists in the first panel session were HE Abdullah Bin Sultan Al Owais, Chairman of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICC), HE Dr Eng. Rashid Obaid Al Leem, Chairman of the Sharjah Electricity & Water Authority (SEWA), HE Sultan bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Chairman of the Sharjah Economic Development Department, HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and HE Saud Salim Al Mazrouei, Director of Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA) and Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone). Moderated by media figure Hassan Yaqoub Al Mansoori, Sharjah Radio Manager, the session presented the key investment opportunities in Sharjah and the necessary facilities to encourage regional and international investors to tap into the business potential in Sharjah and how government entities can coordinate and collaborate to simplify and accelerate procedures in order to enhance the emirate’s competitiveness. Panellists stressed the role played by reasonable energy, easy trading and industrial licensing procedures and the investor friendly regulations in attracting investors to the emirate. Titled ‘Correlating with Decision Makers’, panellists in the second session were HE Ali Salim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Airport Authority, HE Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, Director General of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, HE Riyadh Abdullah Aylan, Director General of Sharjah Municipality, HE Mohammad Mir Abdulrahman, Director General of the Sharjah Department of Seaports and Customs, and HE Eng. Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Al-Hajri, Director of Roads and Transport Authority. Moderated by media figure Mohammed Majid Al Suwaidi, the session discussed efforts made by such decision makers as chairpersons and directors of government entities in listening to requirements of business leaders, providing the necessary needs to attract their investment to Sharjah and stimulating the economic growth in the Emirate. The panellists underlined the importance of free zones, infrastructure and logistic facilities in sea and airports in attracting investors. The forum was concluded with a session titled ‘Building an Attractive Investment Environment Together’. Presented by Elie Armaly, Director of Business Development at Shurooq and Dr Bashir Rashid from Deloitte, the session highlighted the key findings from a survey that was conducted by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and in collaboration with Deloitte on Sharjah’s business competitiveness. The study focused on a benchmark study of the facilities offered to investors in Dubai, Sharjah, Hong Kong, and Jordan through a survey of 270 companies from Sharjah. At the end of the third session, chairpersons and directors of the participating government entities presented their collective feedback and recommendations about the measures and initiatives that should be taken to develop the business and investment sector in the emirate of Sharjah. Four areas of improvement were identified: Staff, Process, Organisations, and Data. They stressed the importance of improving services provided by these entities to enhance the investment climate and offer more incentives and competitive privileges to corporate and individual investors. Shurooq was established in 2009 with the aim of achieving social, cultural, environmental and economic development on the basis of Sharjah's distinct Arab and Islamic identity, and to encourage investment by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from the region and the world. The Authority’s key mission is to provide facilities and incentives to help overcome obstacles facing investment activities in the Emirate, evaluate tourism and investment related infrastructure projects, and lay down the necessary plans to complete such projects. In recognition of its overall accomplishments, Shurooq was named The Banking Awards 2013 and 2014 - FDI Agency of the Year in the MENA region, in The European’s Global Banking and Finance Awards.