Economic activity under the authority currently generates 5 per cent of Dubai’s GDP. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Dubai: A new organisational structure that will see the merger of three different free zones in the emirate came into force on Wednesday.

Approved by its chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority, which will oversee Dubai Airport Free Zone, Dubai Silicon Oasis and Dubai Commerce City, caters to the needs of more than 5,000 companies, including companies involved in over 20 vital economic sectors, and hosts over 30,000 employees from all over the world. Economic activity under the authority currently generates 5 per cent of Dubai’s GDP.

The structure features four main sectors that will support the three free zones under the DIEZ umbrella to ensure that investors have a seamless experience. It also paves the way for creating specialised units to bolster each free zone’s ability to provide innovative solutions and products, which in turn will enhance operational efficiency and financial growth based on a customer-centric approach.

The integrated authority was announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in September.

“Dubai continues to achieve new milestones in its sustainable economic development journey, guided by the vision of Sheikh Mohammed, who recently announced the creation of an integrated local economy led by brilliant minds and exceptional talent and driven by advanced technologies, scientific knowledge, and innovations. These elements are vital to reshaping Dubai’s economic future. The approval of DIEZ’s organisational structure is a testament to our commitment to enhancing our leading role in advancing Dubai’s sustainable economic development and realising its ambitious vision across sectors through innovation, technology and knowledge driven by DIEZ’s free zones,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

“We are confident of the positive economic impact of integrating three premium free zones in Dubai under DIEZ. The new structure is driven by our core values of being integrated, disruptive, customer-centric and expanding DIEZ’s global networks of opportunities to the free zones’ investors. This move will promote economic growth and diversification, as we prepare to unlock substantial economic and business opportunities over the next 50 years that will raise the competitiveness of the national economy and enhance sustainable development at local and regional levels.”

Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Executive Chairman of DIEZ, said: “We are keen to offer a distinctive business model and experience to current and new investors to empower and support them in fulfilling their goals and aspirations. In addition, we will promote integration under the new organisational structure and build on our experiences and expertise to achieve DIEZ’s strategic goals and raise its economic contribution. Each unique free zone offers exceptional investment opportunities, as well as integrated, value-added and inclusive services.”

“DIEZ will ensure a smooth operational transition without impacting the current business experience. We will implement advanced and integrated processes to deliver a faster and more flexible system. These efforts reflect our commitment to implement a unique model that allows every free zone to operate independently and empowers them to enhance the customer journey.”

One of the authority’s key focuses is to attract local and international companies to set up their headquarters in integrated economic zones in the emirate. Furthermore, it seeks to promote Dubai’s economic competitiveness especially in retail, technology, Islamic economy, e-commerce, industrial, logistics and shipping sectors. It also aims to support SMEs and drive entrepreneurship and innovation across sectors.

Companies and individuals licensed in the integrated economic zones under the authority are exempted from all taxes, including income tax, for 50 years, effective from the date of the new law, it was announced in September.