The Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (Dafza) office. Dafza has revisited and reduced registration, licence and staff visa fees for new investors. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (Dafza) has reduced business set-up fees by up to 65 per cent to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) and boost its regional competitiveness.

In a statement on Sunday, the authority said the decision will help achieve further stability for the operational processes of free zone companies and consequently sustain and drive investment growth.

“This is being done through a number of initiatives and incentives that aim to attract and promote FDI into the emirate, ensuring sustainable growth across all economic sectors and strengthening Dubai’s status on the world economic stage,” said Dr Mohammad Al Zarouni, Dafza director-general.

According to him, the incentive measures were taken following comprehensive studies and polls evaluating the free zone’s initiatives, services and business environment.

“This has allowed us to ensure flexibility at Dafza in meeting the requirements of new foreign investors and current customers. We are offering unique services that take into account the global economic climate and allow customers to increase earnings and operational profits as well as achieve business growth and prosperity,” he said.

“The ultimate goal is to drive local economic development and support the sustainability of direct FDI, accelerating and increasing its contribution to Dubai’s GDP.”

Dafza has revisited and reduced registration, licence and staff visa fees for new investors by 65 per cent, 33 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively.

Establishment card issuance fees have also been cut by 17 per cent, while fees for Board Resolution and MOA issuance have been waived.

The new incentives also include the facilitating of the process of obtaining general trading licences for new investors by halving the capital requirement from Dh1 million to Dh500,000.

In other measures, Dafza allowed its member companies to be structured as limited liability free zone companies, in a bid to provide more flexibility in business set-up, licensing and operation. In addition, it waived licence expiry fines to help investors renew their expired licences without paying any late renewal fines.

Free zone licences restructured

The authority also launched a restructuring process of free zone licences and related fees to enhance the operational experience of investors who wish to set up in the free zone.

The new licence structure, which will be introduced at the end of third quarter this year, will be in line with ISIC Rev 4, the UN benchmark for classification of economic activities.