Dubai will push on with grand plans - ruler

Sheikh Mohammed said emirate has no plans to curb ambitious projects
Dubai will push on with grand plans - ruler
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
By Shane McGinley
Mon 11 Feb 2013 04:37 PM

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, said the emirate will "carry on" launching new mega projects and that taking risks is necessary to reach its “ultimate goal”.

Dubai was one of the main markets to be hit by the downturn in the property crisis in 2008, with prices slumping by around 60 percent and over half of its projects put on hold.

The market triggered the Dubai debt crisis, but after years of restructuring and a recovery in demand and sales prices, the emirate has in recent months seen more than a dozen new large scale projects launched back onto the market.

While some analysts have expressed doubts as to whether Dubai can sustain all these new projects and whether it risked slipping back into a real estate bubble, the emirate’s ruler said accepting some level of risk was the only way to achieve the country’s goals.

“We have to carry on… Life is full of challenges. Risk will not disrupt our plans. If we do not accept risk, we will not accomplish. We must embrace positivity, determination and the will to achieve,” Sheikh Mohammed said in a Q&A session at a government summit in Dubai on Monday.

“Those who are determined will meet their ultimate goal… Impossible is not in the UAE's dictionary,” he added when asked by an Emirati citizen if the recent surge in projects was a risk.

In answer to a query on why Dubai always insisted on being number one, whether it is the tallest building, the largest shopping mall or the biggest fountains, he said this reflected the ambitious nature of the government. "We should always be number one because nobody remembers number two."

Some of the projects launched in recent months have included Mohammed Bin Rashid City, a complex consisting of 100 hotels, the world's biggest shopping mall and a Universal Studios theme park.

Last week, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee and vice chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, said he believed there was sufficient liquidity in the region to support such lavish projects.

“I think what Dubai has achieved in their last bond and sukuk, the prices that they get was excellent… When there is liquidity at a good price everybody should take advantage of that and go to the market to be able to take it before it dries up.

“I think when we are talking about investment in Dubai we are very much open to investor[s] to come and invest and there is some project[s] that it is done in-house I would say.”

Late last month, Hani Al Hamli, secretary general of Dubai Economic Council, said Dubai had access to funding for these new projects.

“We do have our own resources and way to finance… We are sure that these projects will be achieved,” he said.

When pushed on where these funds would come from, Al Hamli did not go into specifics, commenting that financing would occur via sources within the UAE.

“We have our own resources in the emirates. I don’t want to disclose… This is managed by the finance department.

“When it comes to resources, we are part of the UAE and we have our own networks… There [are] neighbours who have massive natural resources. At the end of the day, [in] the UAE there is solidarity and a good governance and leadership,” he said.

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