Saeed Al Ghafli, Chairman, Department of Municipal Affairs: Interview

Saeed Al Ghafli, Chairman, Department of Municipal Affairs

Interview: Saeed Al Ghafli

How do you respond to those calling for greater uniformity amongst government institutions with regards to public tender processes?

SAEED AL GHAFLI: I agree that fair and systematic procedures for tendering and procurement are essential for good financial management in government institutions, and this is what we in Abu Dhabi consider to be a basic element of good governance. We always look for an efficient and robust public tendering process that will ensure value for money and high quality of services. As such, government departments in the emirate of Abu Dhabi are required to follow strict, transparent procurement policies and guidelines, as mandated by the Purchasing, Tendering and Contract Law No. 6 of 2008.

With regards to uniformity, most government departments are generally unified on this point. A further order requiring semi-government agencies to be closely aligned in procurement and tendering processes and to publicly announce tender agreements will help enhance governance and increase the transparency of government transactions.

How have ownership and title laws been improved, and what more can be done to attract foreign investors to the residential market?

AL GHAFLI: The strong legal framework in the property sector in Abu Dhabi plays an important role in strengthening the local economy and helping to attract foreign investment from all over the world. The property sector is vital to the local economy. Since the introduction of Law No. 19 of 2005, which concerns the real estate sector and opened the door for foreign nationals to invest and own property in certain investment areas in the emirate, the sector has proven to be a major attraction for foreign buyers and investors, especially since these areas are considered among the most attractive in the region.

The Department of Municipal Affairs will continue to develop local legislation related to Abu Dhabi’s property sector in order to enhance the rights of investors and tenants as individuals and as institutions, and to play its role in enhancing the competitiveness of the local economy and achieving the goals set out in the Abu Dhabi 2030 Vision. Our laws and legislations are continuously being enhanced, because we believe in an open and free market, and we are also aiming to maintain a spot among the top five real estate markets in the world.

What is being done to encourage developers to not only look at greenfield developments but also the rehabilitation of older units?

AL GHAFLI: The UAE in general and Abu Dhabi in particular have become well recognised internationally for their environmentally friendly projects and sustainable work practices. We apply strict legislation in the building and construction sector in relation to environmental, health and safety standards in residential and commercial buildings.

To this end, the Department of Municipal Affairs in cooperation with the International Code Council has developed the Abu Dhabi International Building Codes, which is a complete set of comprehensive and coordinated codes providing the minimum requirements to safeguard public health, safety and the general welfare of the occupants of new and existing buildings. The new unified building codes introduce a common and transparent set of regulations to govern all activities in the construction industry throughout the emirate. Furthermore, the codes are applicable to all projects in Abu Dhabi, including existing buildings, when a property owner or developer submits an application to carry out improvements to an existing structure.

The Abu Dhabi Building Codes are a major step towards ensuring that the emirate achieves the Abu Dhabi 2030 Economic Vision, which aims to build a sustainable, diversified and high value-added economy that is well integrated into the global economy.

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The Report: Abu Dhabi 2015

Real Estate & Construction chapter from The Report: Abu Dhabi 2015

Cover of The Report: Abu Dhabi 2015

The Report

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