The United Arab Emirates is governed by seven hereditary sheikhs, which is also known as emirs that is why the country’s name is United Arab Emirates. The seven emirates are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwin, Ras al-Kaimmah and Fujiarah. The sheiks would choose a president among themselves At present the current president of the UAE is Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayid al-Nuhayyan which is the ruler of Abu Dhabi. The Vice President and Prime minister is the ruler of Dubai which Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum until his death in January 2006, the role was assumed by his brother and heir, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.
There is also a Deputy Prime Minister and a cabinet. The posts are distributed among the other emirs. The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the emirate is the president. The second in command is Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. The country also has a parliament which is also known as the Federal National Council. The council can only give advice to the cabinet and Supreme Council but the sheikhs cannot be overruled. The council has 40 members who are selected from the seven emirates. The ruler of the emirates appoints the members.
The Council has powers to amend and review the legislation and also to summon Ministers to review and criticize the work of their ministries. However, even if a parliament is present, the ruler remains to have a complete sovereign in his domain. The report on the website lowtax. net, stated that there has been free trade agreement negotiations between the parliaments, and the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council that had took place in Bahrain. Other issues discussed in the meeting were trade issues, industrial tariffs and public procurement.
According to a report from the Washington Times (2006), Dubai’s economy grew at around 16 per cent in the year 2005. Dubai Department of Economic Development estimated that the economy is worth $ 37 billion. The growth rate of the emirate had beaten the growth rate of China which is 8. 5 per cent. Mohammed Ali Alabhar had stated in the Washington Times The dominating industry in the emirate is the Petroleum. The wealth gained from the industry is invested in capital improvements and social services in the whole seven emirates.
Production of Petroleum is concentrated in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The Industrial Development is associated with the petroleum gains and is limited by the trained manpower that the country has and the raw materials. The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the UAE grew by 5. 7% in 2004 having a value of $ 63. 67 Billion. The oil industry had contributed 38 percent up from 34 percent in the year 2002. Other areas that Dubai is concentrated on are the tourism and its real estate properties.
Mohammed Ali Alabbar, the director of the Department of Economic Development (DED), stated that the economy of Dubai will be sustained over the long term. He further noted that as compared to the $17 billion value in the year the 2000, the accumulated growth in the last decade is among the highest rate of growth in the world. Alabbar associated this economic growth to the diversification policy of the emirate. The establishment of transparent policies that had supported and encouraged private enterprises has given the economy further confidence.
The government initiatives had also enabled a continuous inflow of foreign capital, it is expected that this inflow would be maintained. Since Dubai is located in between Africa and the Middle East and also between the Far East and Europe, it had created a gateway for the 1. 5 Million consumers in the countries surrounding the Red sea and the Gulf. Its infrastructure had become an important factor in the global transport and distribution system. The emirate has 170 shipping lines inside its emirates and more than 86 airlines offers links to over 100 cities worldwide.
This shows a strong shipping and transporting sector in the emirate. The sector is mostly composed of leading regional and international freight forwarders, insurers and shipping agents. The emirate also boasts its rapidly developing high quality manufacturing sector and a prosperous domestic market. All its infrastructures and services can match with the international standards. The website, lowtax. net mentioned that the emirate have no foreign exchange controls, quotas or trade barriers. The UAE dirham, the currency of UAE is freely convertible and linked with the US dollar.
The current exchange rate is Dh 3. 675 = $1. No revaluation has occurred since 1977. After launching the Jebel Ali free zone in 2001, the government had developed Dubai Internet City which has a highly developed technical infrastructure. In the year 2002, Dubai had developed plans for the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). It is said that the DIFC would be a major financial entrecote. The DIFC bridges the gap in the market for international Shariah banking, fund management and life assurance.
Among the first residents of DIFC are Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered. Forecast for the DIFC is to double or create a 20 percent GDP contribution of the financial sector of the UAE. Rental fees on the emirate had been regulated by the government. Price increase on rents where noted by the government and rents in the Emirate cannot be raised by more than 15 percent until the end of 2006. In June 2004, the Dubai government planned to enshrine laws governing foreign freehold ownership of property.
Deputy director general of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Banna had announced that, “—the Dubai government will issue a new property law which will address some of the key issues which also include legalizing foreign freehold ownership which has been endorsed by the Dubai government. In August 2006, the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority had published draft legislation that would allow foreign freehold ownership of property in the government.
Laws included in the DIFC Property Law and 2006 Strata Law compromises the Real Property Law that guaranteed ownership of freehold land and interest in land within DIFC. The Postal system in UAE can be classified as modern and efficient in the gulf. Mail going to the USA or Europe usually takes 10 days while Mail going to Australia takes 8 days. The emirate also has a very good telephone system and this could call anywhere in the world even if it is in the remotest areas. Internet use is very extensive and the government had developed many online portals for accessing services and information.