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Mon 23 Mar 2015 11:14 AM

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UAE taking 'stern' measures against terrorism funding, says economy minister

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori says authorities are monitoring UAE financial markets, businesses to disrupt the flow of money for terrorism in the region

UAE taking 'stern' measures against terrorism funding, says economy minister
UAE Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori

The UAE is taking “stern” measures to disrupt finances being used to fund terrorism, including monitoring its financial markets, UAE Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori has said.

The Gulf state was “not directly affected” by current regional turbulence, such as in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, but the UAE government was not taking chances, Al Mansoori said during an interview with Oxford Business Group for its latest Dubai 2015 report.

“Our leadership realises the need to address any issues before any consequences can result,” he was quoted as saying.

“The government works proactively on many levels to guarantee stability. The UAE takes stern economic measures to dry up the financial sources for terrorism by closely monitoring financial markets and organisations to guarantee that institutions are not being used in any way that would affect the stability of the region or the world at large.

“Security and safety are major attractions when it comes to investments, making them a high priority for the UAE government.”

The UAE has been one of the key economic beneficiaries of Middle East conflict since the Arab Spring in 2011, with billions of dollars of foreign money being re-directed from trouble spots to safer havens.

The UAE is expected to report 4.8 percent growth in the national economy during 2014, according to Al Mansoori.

“Due to our strategic geographic location and the advanced infrastructure facilities we provide to investors and visitors, the country has evolved into an international tourism destination and a global gateway to trade between the West and East,” he told OBG.

However, the UAE’s consumption-driven economy made it more difficult to control soaring inflation, although it remained in the target range of 2-3 percent during 2014.

Foreign direct investment also has helped the country’s non-oil sectors improve, growing as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) from 61.2 percent in 2003 to 76.3 percent in 2013.

“The country’s concerted efforts have enabled us to introduce a number of policies that focus on diversifying our economy internally and boosting the volume of exports,” Al Mansoori said.

The government is working on industrial legislation to further stimulate various non-oil sectors and accelerate export capabilities. The industrial sector’s contribution to national GDP is expected to reach 25 percent in 2021, compared to 14 percent in 2014, the economy minister said.

New trade agreements and economic blocs also are being pursued as part of the economic diversification plan.

Despite a 60 percent drop in the price of oil since June, 2014, Minister of Energy Suhail Al Mazrouei has insisted the UAE will not suspend or cancel several planned oil and gas projects aimed at boosting oil production capacity from a current level of almost 3 million barrels per day to 3.5 million bpd by 2017, as well as moving the country towards being self-sufficient in natural gas.