The Jebel Ali Free Zone. Dubai Free Zones Council announced an economic stimulus package to complement the Dubai Government’s efforts to overcome the current situation arising out of risks posed by the outbreak of COVID-19. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

• Postponing rent payments for 6 months

• Facilitating installments for payments

• Refunding security deposits and guarantees

• Cancellation of fines for both companies and individuals

• Temporary contracts that allow the free movement of labour between companies operating in the free zones

Dubai: Dubai Free Zones Council on Saturday launched an economic stimulus package under the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Dubai Free Zones Council announced an economic stimulus package to 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.

“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 Government said in a statement

Efforts to mitigate risks

The stimulus package 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. 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 Ahmad

“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,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airport Free Zone.

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 per cent. They provide a base for 44,985 companies and provide a total of 389,336 jobs.

All Free Zones chip in

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.

“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,” said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World and CEO/Chairman of Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation

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GITEX 2019 at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). DWTC is an active participant in the new stimulus package announced on Saturday.

Leading Dubai free zones are participating in the stimulus package. “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,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority.

The new stimulus package is part of Dubai’s efforts to mitigate the negative effects of the crisis and speed up the revival of its economy. This (stimulus) enhances confidence in the emirate and increases its competitive advantage globally. The world is facing difficult challenges given the current uncertain and unstable situation which threatens the economic climate,” said Dr. Mohammed Al Zarouni, Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, and Director General of the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA).

DIFC to support its ecosystem
The Dubai International Financial Centre (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 per cent 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.
“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,” said Essa Kazim, Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
Leading free zones such as the Meydan Free Zone, TECOM and DMCC too have announced their participation in the new stimulus package.