Dubai : Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) on Wednesday announced a new support package for its business partners. Retailers based at DIFC-owned assets now benefit from a three-month rent-free period on their base rent, providing businesses with added flexibility and financial relief.
The new initiative builds on Dubai Government’s economic stimulus package and DIFC’s fiscal easing plans to support businesses in response to the situation caused by COVID-19.
From April to June 2020, retailers of all types based in DIFC’s owned assets - Gate Avenue, Gate Village and Gate District - will not be required to pay basic rent. The DIFC’s initiative is aimed at supporting the retail industry during this period of uncertainty. Retailers will gain additional financial certainty and relief, placing them in a stronger position to resume operations following this challenging time.
His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of DIFC, said: “Under the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai is committed to supporting businesses who are facing challenges amidst the fight against COVID-19. Supporting individuals and businesses encountering difficulties during times of uncertainty has always been part of Dubai’s and the UAE’s humanitarian ethos.
“We consider businesses in Dubai as our constant partners in development and are committed to supporting them in both favourable and adverse economic environments. The latest measures announced by DIFC are part of Dubai’s broader strategic framework for assisting businesses in easing the financial strains caused by the pandemic and helping them renew their business momentum when the crisis ends.
Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, said: “These measures have been introduced as part of our ongoing stimulus package which aims to alleviate the tremendous burden that COVID-19 has on our clients, industry and economy. This has particularly been an exceptionally challenging time for retailers, with the added impact of stores being temporarily closed as part of limiting the spread of COVID-19.
“The retail sector makes a vital contribution to our dynamic community and therefore it is essential we support the industry through our Retail Stimulus package to provide some level of certainty to our valued tenants. Our efforts to support DIFC’s business community is testament to Dubai’s wise leadership to ensure our future economy is protected and positioned for growth.
“Building on our fiscal easing measures, waiving basic rental fees for retailers will secure livelihoods and enable outlets to once again contribute to one of Dubai’s primary shopping destinations with ease and flexibility as markets start to rebalance. Ultimately, we have made it a priority to extend a helping hand to our retail clients and dynamic business community. We will continue to persevere together and safeguard Dubai’s economic future.”
DIFC recently introduced a series of initiatives to support businesses in response to the impact caused by COVID-19. Packages include a waiver of annual licensing fees on new registrations during the next three months, and a 10% discount of renewal fees for existing license holders in the DIFC that are due to renew their licenses during this period. The DIFC will allow deferred payments with respect to all properties owned by DIFC Investments for a period of up to six months.
The DIFC will also apply a reduction on property transfer fees from 5% to 4% for any sale of property (or any part thereof) that took place within the three-month period and if the transfer is registered with the DIFC Registrar of Properties, at the latest, within 30 days after the expiry of the said three month period.
The Centre will facilitate the free movement of labour in and out of the DIFC to other free zones, provided the employers concerned have the necessary arrangements and contracts in place with their employees.
Moreover, Dubai Financial Services Authority recently announced a number of initiatives to provide significant assistance and regulatory relief to DIFC’s financial services community. These initiatives will allow the DIFC community to focus on protecting the wellbeing of their staff and supporting their clients during this time of uncertainty.