Abu Dhabi urged to press ahead with projects


By Simeon Kerr in Dubai  www.ft.com

Abu Dhabi needs to push ahead with infrastructure development to sustain economic momentum across the United Arab Emirates, according to Khalaf al-Habtoor, outspoken chairman of one of Dubai’s biggest conglomerates.

Dubai Pearl project
Dubai Pearl project

Habtoor Leighton, a contractor in which Habtoor Group has a 27 per cent stake, has tendered for several projects that have been delayed amid the capital’s continuing spending review, the businessman says.

“Normal practice when there is pressure is that the government needs to spend money for recovery – this is the right time now to continue and go ahead with infrastructure,” Mr Habtoor says. “This is the blood circulation in the body – this is the wrong time to delay.”

Abu Dhabi, which embarked on a property development drive a few years later than Dubai, has faced a sharp decline in the sector, forcing the $5.2bn bail-out of Aldar, a state-related developer, as well as providing earlier support to debt-laden Dubai, Mr Habtoor’s home town. More info