KPMG looks ahead to working closely with UAE firms

Consultancy major's key focus to be on sustainability


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Emilio Pera, CEO, Senior Partner at KPMG Lower Gulf (UAE & Oman). — Supplied photo
Emilio Pera, CEO, Senior Partner at KPMG Lower Gulf (UAE & Oman). — Supplied photo

Published: Tue 16 May 2023, 2:24 PM

KPMG Lower Gulf, one of the Big Four global consultancy firms, recently completed five decades of operations in the UAE. Looking ahead, the company expects to work closed with the private sector and government bodies and play a key role in the development of the region.

Khaleej Times recently met Emilio Pera, CEO, Senior Partner at KPMG Lower Gulf (UAE & Oman), who shared his thoughts on the company’s operations and plans for the future. Excerpts from the interview:

How was 2022 for KPMG Lower Gulf in terms of its performance? Did the firm achieve its targets?

KPMG LG remained focused on growth in 2022, consistent with the economic growth and technological changes experienced in the UAE market. The firm is rapidly progressing alongside legislative changes in the UAE especially in the fields of corporate tax and ESG, with a marked focus on inclusion and diversity and staff welfare in general. We are also proud of our Emiratisation agenda and our partnership with ADGM Academy and remain well ahead of our targets. This year marks our 50th anniversary in the UAE, and we are proud that our last 50 years have played a critical role in building the integrity of capital markets through our audit, tax and advisory business offerings. We are more committed than ever to strengthening our longstanding relationship with the UAE.

What is your strategy for 2023? What will be your areas of focus this year?

We have enjoyed tremendous success in recent years and have grown our client serving teams to more than 2,000 in the UAE. Looking ahead to 2023 and beyond, we will be focusing on refreshing our strategy by strengthening what we have already built. We want to continue focusing on the future with robust governance and commerciality. We plan to work closely with the private sector, ministries, and regulators to further the agenda of the UAE and play a key role in supporting the rapid pace of development in the region. Furthermore, we continue to keep our clients and our people at the forefront of the goals we set for ourselves as we strive for positive change across all dimensions of our business.

How do you see economic prospects for the UAE in 2023? What will be the key catalysts for the nation to sustain its growth momentum this year?

The UAE continues to grow rapidly as a regional and global hub on the back of ongoing regulatory developments and market openness. Furthermore, a growing skilled population of local Emiratis and expats has contributed to expanding business opportunities and has enhanced international visibility. The UAE is at the cutting edge of technological and digital advancement, both of which are further fueling growth in diverse sectors. Sustainability is climbing the agenda – and as a firm, KPMG believes that sustainable growth is the only way to build a successful business and have a lasting impact on our environment and society. As we experience the sustainability innovations in the country, and with COP 28 being held in the UAE this year, it further illustrates how sustainability will boost economic competitiveness, while driving innovative policy and improved investment opportunities.

Inflation is a key concern worldwide; how do you see this impacting the UAE?

The UAE has witnessed significantly lower inflation as stagnating markets elsewhere are driving investment into the country. The Central Bank of the UAE raised economic growth projections for 2022 to 7.6 per cent from its previous forecast of 6.5 per cent as a result of improved performance of the non-oil sectors including real estate, tourism and hospitality. Furthermore, the Gulf countries including the UAE enjoy diverse import sources, which has helped stem recent food supply chain disruptions and has insulated UAE households to some extent and helped keep inflation low.

Do you think commodities ‘Super Cycle’ will stage a comeback in the wake of geopolitical tensions and supply concerns?

Supply chain and logistics pose a challenge both to global economic stability and food security. Markets also remain very dependent on geo-political developments and the re-emergence of China on the world market. In addition, the existential national threat particularly in Africa, Caucasus, and East Asia, in the context of various global events will lead to continued tension between global superpowers and both a threat and opportunity to the UAE market. The global push for clean energy is not likely to affect the region materially in the short term, in the context of the above, but is definitely something to anticipate. The consequent impact on commodities is difficult to anticipate, but volatility can be expected in the foreseeable future.

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