Abu Dhabi: As well as being a new year, 2020 is also ushering in several new regulations to the UAE, with the measures ranging from new toll gates in Abu Dhabi to a nationwide 50 per cent tax on sugary products.
The Abu Dhabi Toll Gate System, which comes into effect on January 2 was announced back in July, bringing a similar Dubai Salik style system to the capital.
The toll gates will operate on four bridges in Abu Dhabi – Shaikh Zayed Bridge, Shaikh Khalifa Bridge, Al Maqta Bridge and Mussaffah Bridge – with motorists having to pay Dh4 when they pass through any of the bridges. The total amount for the day will be capped at Dh16 with Dh200 per month.
No toll on off-peak hours
There's good news for motorists: The Department of Municipalities and Transport announced that they will not have to pay during off-peak hours.
The agency stated that the toll system only charging drivers during its peak hours from 7am-9am and 5pm-7pm from Saturday to Thursday.
Exemptions will also be made for certain motorists who fit the criteria; these include Senior Emirati citizens, people of determination and low income-Emiratis and Emirati retirees.
Certain vehicles will also be exempted from paying the tolls — such as taxis, public and school buses, towed vehicles and public buses with 26-seats or more.
As a way to incentivise greener cars, electric vehicles will also be exempted from paying any charges. Motorbikes as well will not face any toll charges.
Register now: Here's now
Motorists who haven’t yet registered are advised to do so, or they will face a fine of Dh100 for the first day, Dh200 for the second and Dh400 for the third day with a maximum limit of Dh10,000.
Drivers can create an account and register online on itps.itc.gov.ae or dot.gov.abudhabi by clicking on the Abu Toll Gate system.
Applicants will need to provide their Emirates ID and license plate details along with their email and mobile number, followed by making a payment.
Tax on sugar
Starting January 1, a levied tax of 50 per cent is being placed on sugary drinks in the UAE.
They include any product with added sugar or sweeteners in the form of beverage, liquid, concentrate, powder, extract or anything that can be converted into a drink.
The new rule will also require manufacturers to clearly identify and label the sugar content to allow consumers to be informed of what they are purchasing and to be able to make healthier choices according to the UAE cabinet.
As well as the sugar tax, a tax of 100 per cent will also be levied on electronic smoking devices containing tobacco or nicotine, and liquids used in electronic smoking devices. According to the UAE Cabinet, the aim is to encourage residents to reduce their use of such products that can negatively affect their health.
Insolvencies will now be handled with a new insolvency law. Under the new law people won’t be jailed for a bounced cheque, instead a debtor can now approach a civil court in the emirate they reside in and invoke their insolvency status.
Once declared insolvent, the civil court will appoint financial experts to come up with a long-term payment plan with the debtor and creditor. Payments can be done through direct payments or by assets owned.
With the payment plan in place, debtors will not face any legal prosecution during that period, and will also have the criminal case against them wiped out once all payments have been completed so they won’t have any criminal record against them.
Higher Real Estate Committee
Announced back in September, this committee is expected to have a hands on approach in 2020.
The committee aims to regulate the property market in Dubai by ensuring that semi government real estate companies don’t compete with private developers; the aim is to create a well-balanced property market ensuring no oversupply which can bring prices down.
The move aims to ensure the competitiveness of Dubai’s real estate sector as well as bringing added value to any new development projects for the emirate.
Revised salary scales
As announced by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, the salary scale resolution for government employees is aimed at ensuring parity.
Gross salaries will not be affected; instead a unified scale will be created across all government entities in terms of grading systems and allowances.
The resolution will also increase pensions for government employees, with payments calculated on almost 80 per cent of their gross salary, compared to previously when repayments were calculated based on their basic salary.