Dubai: The postponement of rent payments for up to 6 months has been announced by the Dubai Free Zones as part of the economic stimulus package under the directives of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai.
The raft of measures launched on Saturday (March 28, 2020) include the following:
- Postponement of rent payments for up to 6 months.
- Facilitating financial payments through easy installments on a monthly basis.
- Refunding various insurance and guarantees claims.
- The cancellation of number of penalties for companies and individuals.
- Allowing intra-corporate tranfer of laboor between companies and sectors operating in the free zones through permanent or temporary contracts without penalties during 2020.
There are nearly 45,000 companies located in Dubai Free Zones, with nearly 390,000 employees. The free zones account for about a third of Dubai's gross domestic product.
In a statement, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airport Free Zone, confirmed on Saturday that the Dubai Free Zones Council is continuously working to support the economic system to enhance Dubai’s competitiveness by ensuring business continuity in all sectors, especially for small and medium enterprises.
In the current exceptional circumstances, Dubai Free Zones are working together to highlight their strategic role and social responsibility to support Dubai's economy.
Dubai Free Zones Council announced an economic stimulus package complement the Dubai Government’s efforts to overcome the current situation. This initiative complements an earlier package announced recently to reduce business costs and enhance financial liquidity of companies operating in the free zones.
The Dubai Free Zones Council’s package contributes to strengthening and supporting Dubai’s businesses by reducing the impact of the current economic situation.
It includes five key elements: postponement of rent payments by a period of 6 months; facilitating installments for payments; refunding security deposits and guarantees; cancellation of fines for both companies and individuals; and permitting temporary contracts that allow the free movement of labour between companies operating in the free zones for the rest of the year.
Benefit for workers
These advantages also benefit workers seeking better job opportunities, and those who have been granted unpaid leave by facilitating their re-employment in jobs in Dubai.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum stressed that ensuring the business continuity of companies and providing them the support they need are critical to the Dubai economy’s ability to successfully overcome the crisis. He added that the Dubai Free Zones’ stimulus measures complement national efforts to reduce the impact of recent global challenges. They provide companies with the liquidity necessary to tackle the current situation and maintain competitive advantage and sustainable growth. This initiative supports a wide range of SMEs in maintaining their competitiveness.
Dubai Free Zones play a prominent role in promoting sustainable economic growth, attracting investments and supporting Dubai's vision to be the world’s preferred investment destination and the ideal place to live, work and visit. Their contributions to Dubai's Gross Domestic Product reached 33%.
They provide a base for 44,985 companies and provide a total of 389,336 jobs Entities that contributed to this economic stimulus package, in coordination with the Dubai Free Zones Council, include: Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority, Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai Development Authority, Dubai South, Meydan City Corporation, and Dubai Multi Commodities Centre.
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World and CEO/Chairman of Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation, said: "During these difficult times, the business sector is facing major challenges. We are keen to provide the necessary support for companies through a package of discounts and exemptions from fees in Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), National Industries Park (NIP) and Dubai Cars & Automotive Zone (DUCAMZ). This includes waiving fines on expired trade licenses for companies operating in these zones. In addition, new companies can start their businesses without paying license fees for the first year".
Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, said: "Dubai's economy has a great flexibility and the potential to adapt to unpredictable global fluctuations. This has been proven as the world faces a challenging reality that requires strong coordination and rapid collective action, in addition to strengthening collaboration efforts between public and private sectors and society. As an essential tourism pillar in Dubai, DWTC bears national responsibility to support its partners in dealing with the current risks of COVID-19. We can help maintain sustainable commercial operations through these measures and reduce burdens on the sectors most affected by this crisis, such as SMEs", by providing the necessary support to all customers, partners and suppliers.
Dr. Mohammed Al Zarouni, Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, and Director General of the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA) stressed that Dubai’s wise leadership took all the necessary measures to protect society in every way.
This enhances confidence in the emirate and increases its competitive advantage globally. He added: "The world is facing difficult challenges given the current uncertain and unstable situation which threatens the economic climate. Through its initiatives, Dubai is proving its ability to mitigate the negative effects of the crisis and speed up the revival of its economy, with future positive returns for the Emirate and the region, in addition to the preventive measures it has taken to limit the spread of COVID-19".
Essa Kazim, Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), said: "As the leading financial centre of the region, and in line with Dubai government’s economic stimulus package, and the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, we are committed to supporting our community during these unprecedented times.
"The new economic stimulus package presented by the Dubai International Financial Centre shows its continued dedication to implementing comprehensive measures to support businesses and enable companies to continue their operations easily and flexibly".
DIFC proposes implementing five initiatives over the next three months, which centre on enhancing its efforts to support companies during these exceptional circumstances. Initiatives include waiving annual license fees for new companies during the next three months, and a 10% discount on renewal fees for existing licenses during the same period.
Furthermore, companies will enjoy additional facilities, such as the postponing of payment plans for all commercial properties owned by DIFC Investments for a period of 6 months. DIFC will reduce its ownership transfer fees from 5% to 4% for any property sale that occurs within the authorised three-month period, if ownership transfers are registered at DIFC within 30 days after the end of the three-month period.
Saeed Humaid Matar Al Tayer, Chairman and CEO of Meydan Group, said: "In line with our government's directives to develop initiatives that support the business sector during these difficult times, and after consulting with business owners at the Meydan Free Zone, we are committed to collaborating with them on our collective economic recovery. A package of initiatives has been developed in coordination with the DFZ Council to reduce financial burdens on individuals and companies, including waiving fines on expired licenses, facilitating payments installments, and waiving licensing fees for the first year. We salute our leaders for their honourable efforts in providing all kinds of support for society".
Malek Sultan Al Malek, Director General of the Dubai Development Authority (DDA) and Group CEO of TECOM Group said: "Launching this package is testimony to Dubai’s commitment to the wise leadership’s directives, which aim to tackle all challenges by reducing the economic impact on the Emirate and strengthen its position as a global and regional investment destination. Over the last 20 years, we have managed to build a sustainable economic sector, and we will continue to provide all the necessary support to our partners and investors to tackle the consequences of the current global crisis."
The package presented by DDA and TECOM Group include a set of initiatives which provide the necessary resources and support to SMEs in order to ensure their continuity. Companies can postpone payments, and new firms can postpone their lease periods and cancel their registration fees for a period of 6 months. They can also cancel all fines on expired licenses and other financial and administrative fees. The package also offers flexible fee payments, including building licenses and services, in addition to refunding security deposits and guarantees to enhance their liquidity.
Khalifa Al Zaffin, Executive Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation and Dubai South said: "We launched a package of initiatives in line with the directives of the wise leadership and their vision to support partners and investors, in light of the global economic challenges resulting from the spread of the novel Coronavirus.
"The package offers four initiatives including waiving fees on residential land and expired licenses, facilitating payments through monthly checks and exempting licensing fees for the first year. The package aims at supporting our partners and investors during these exceptional circumstances and responds to the leadership vision and its initiatives to support the Emirate's economy and resume its strong performance. Dubai South is fully prepared to launch any additional initiatives that contribute to supporting Dubai’s economy".
Ahmed Bin Sulayem, CEO and Executive Chairman of DMCC said: "Today, we are experiencing unprecedented conditions, and we at DMCC feel the suffering of all those affected by the spread of COVID-10. We stand in solidarity with all effected parties and support the UAE government’s proactive efforts and help. DMCC is committed to supporting the national economy during these difficult times by taking a set of effective measures to reduce the cost of doing business in Dubai".
"We have also offered large exemptions on a wide range of fees for the 17,000 registered companies, by reducing registration fees by 50% for new companies joining the center, while current companies now have 30% discounts on renewal and amendment fees. In addition, we have launched many flexible payment options for various sectors. We will continue supporting their needs and announce additional details in due course".