This week Arabian Business will be interviewing Marwan Bin Ghalaita. He is CEO of RERA, the body that regulates the would-be jungle that is the Dubai real estate market. The world knows his job cannot be an easy one.
During the boom, Bin Ghalaita must have spent his days undertaking the Sisyphean challenge of trying to spot the cowboys in the stampede, and now it would be easy to believe his working hours are spent head in hands, trying to address a variety of nightmarish, multi-million dollar versions of the chicken and egg conundrum — did the developer go bust because the investors went bust, or the other way around? — while trying to keep everyone happy.
Pre-summer 2007, a lot of people got very rich very quickly by dabbling in the property market in Dubai. But since then, since the party stopped, a lot of people have become very poor very quickly. For hundreds of thousands of people, the fallout is still being felt. As RERA decides how best to move the market forward and restore confidence, everyone has a view on how the future will play out. Bin Ghalaita’s statements though, should hold more credibility than anyone else’s — the emirate’s ruler excepted. After all, he more than anyone should know the true condition of the market, and what measures the state will or won’t take to further stimulate it. Smart investors and developers have long hung on his every word, and with good reason.
Bin Ghalaita, who in my experience is a charming and courteous man, does not often give interviews. I would, then, like to give readers of Arabian Business the opportunity to submit questions beneath this column — or by email to me — that they would like him to answer.
Perhaps you would like to know how you, as an investor, are protected by the law against a developer that is not delivering on promises. Perhaps you would like to know the status of a project in which you have invested. Or perhaps you would like to know what the likelihood of you receiving your deposit back on a project that doesn’t look like it will ever be completed is.
Whatever your question, please make sure we receive it before Tuesday next week, and I will try my hardest to make sure as many as possible are put to Bin Ghalaita. He has long made clear he is an advocate of transparency — and I am sure he will welcome the opportunity to respond to the public directly.
This week’s issue of the magazine is set aside to celebrating the Indian community’s highest achievers in the Gulf.
India’s relationship with the GCC is a long one — labourers from India played a major part in building the cities of the Gulf, and today more and more it is Indians who are peopling the boardrooms of the region’s top companies and banks. The retail sector is where the majority of the 100 Indians we believe are the most powerful in the Gulf made their fortunes, but the list is a good reflection of the diversity of the roles Indians play in daily life in this part of the world. The contribution of Indian nationals to progress in the Gulf is massive — in healthcare, in the arts, in construction and engineering, in hospitality — and it is perhaps a little shameful that it has taken us this long to properly recognise the high fliers with a list.
We have tried enormously hard to make sure the names on the list are the right ones, and we feel sure that all of them are deserving of their place. That said, we do not claim that the list is definitive — it is a first attempt and in the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries there will almost certainly be names we have missed. Please feel free to put us right — the more names we can collect the more competition for a place on next year’s list.
Damian Reilly is the Editor of Arabian Business.
Contact Damian at: firstname.lastname@example.org