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Sharjah Experiencing Economic Growth

UAE : 06 June 2011

Indications of economic recovery are emerging in Sharjah as the global recession winds down. Sharjah has registered increased exports and production levels, according to Crown Prince Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, the Deputy Ruler of the emirate.

Economic growth experienced a slow down during the recent crisis although indications now point to an improvement as the levels of production, exports and manufacturing have risen, according to the Crown Prince. He also noted that local entities are joining the government in supporting businesses under the guidance of the Ruler of the Emirate and member of the Supreme Council, H H Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi. The Crown Prince made these comments while attending the ninth edition of the Sharjah Economic Excellence Awards.

These awards were put in place to encourage the levels of competition, draw investors to the area and increase quality and production within the private sector, added the Crown Prince.

Ten businesses from the private sector were awarded during the ceremony honouring their outstanding contributions, level of competitiveness, best practices and the sustainability of their businesses throughout 2010.

Shaikh Sultan handed out awards to companies based in Sharjah and involved in the trade and service sectors, as well as in manufacturing. Categories based on the size of the firm included gold, large, small & medium firms, as well as awards for entrepreneurship and two certificates of appreciation.

Winning in the large firm/service sector classification, Unique Maritime Group has increased from the small business based in Sharjah back in 1993 to an international enterprise with operations in the US, South Africa and the UK, as well as Singapore. Clients of the Unique Maritime Group include the Dubai Municipality and the UAE’s military.

This firm hit an annual turnover of Dh 367mn last year (or $100mn). There were 170 employees trained in specialized engineering services, according to what Harry Gandhi, chief executive of Unique Maritime Group, said when commenting on his company’s local economic contributions.

Gandhi announced that 15 to 20 percent growth is expected in his firm, a result of the economic turnaround and acquisitions in 2010 worth more than £10 million.

After being in the running for three tries, TC Consultancy nabbed the award for small & medium companies in the services sector.

Managing director at TC Consultancy Thomas Chacko stated that the reinvestment of profits back into the firm and improvements in quality and customer service made the difference.

These engineering consultants noted that the support Sharjah has extended to the SME sector is an important factor. The Ruler’s office has put through repeated orders to TC Consultancy and the firm has settled into the Sharjah International Airport Free Zone enjoying an annual rental rate that will not change for 25 years. Chacko commented on the company’s gratitude for their ideal position.

Chacko’s company is currently looking towards India, Qatar and Abu Dhabi for new projects. He noted that although these regions are prime for growth, Sharjah continues to be the firm’s homebase.

Besides the Ruler’s office, TC Consultancy counts the Public Works Department, the Sharjah Ladies Club and the Aquarium Museum among its many clients.

Next year’s award ceremonies will undergo new developments, pending the Crown Prince’s approval.

The contents and categories within the awards, as well as fresh standards, will help to create a new identity for the awards keeping pace with international models and taking into account situations when the nature of the business activities and scope of investments for those firms working within Sharjah need to be kept confidential. This was stated by board of trustees member Mohammad Sultan Bin Huwaiden when speaking at the Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Sharjah.

There may soon be solar street lights and solar power within the government buildings in Sharjah. This will save energy throughout the power cuts that occur during the summer in the emirate.

Global conglomerate Al Mulk Holdings out of Sharjah is currently negotiating with the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (or SEWA) regarding numerous plans for solar power.

Mulk Holding’s chairman Nawab Shaji Ul Mulk commented during the Economic Excellence Awards stating that interactions between his firm and SEWA have occurred in the last few weeks discussing the use of solar power for government buildings and street lighting. Government regulations remain the largest hurdle for these projects.

Due to the expense involved in solar power, support from the government is absolutely necessary. Subsidies must be introduced or the state needs to buy back the power from the producers, according to Shaji Ul Mulk.

The installation of solar power units on the rooftops of residents has been proposed by Mulk, according to managing partner Khurram Nawab.

Nawab stated that power can be saved should the government allow rooftop units to be installed across Sharjah. These units would produce power by the hundreds of megawatts without the necessity of a power plant, according to Nawab.

Across India, Europe and the UAE Mulk Holdings has Dh 400mn invested in solar powered projects, according to Shaji Ul Mulk. His company was awarded the prize for the large firm manufacturing classification.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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