His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum chairing federal cabinet meeting on Thursday Image Credit: Wam

Abu Dhabi: Emiratis working in the public sector can now take up to one year’s leave to start their own businesses, with a chance to retain their jobs, it was announced today.

Emirati entrepreneurs who avail the one-year leave to set up their own business will be paid half their salaries, enabling them to retain their jobs.

The announcement was made by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as he chaired a Cabinet meeting at Qasr Al Watan in Abu Dhabi today.

“Our goal is to encourage the youth to take advantage of the huge commercial opportunities offered by our national economy,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.

Dh2.4 billion housing loans 

The Vice-President also announced approving housing loans worth Dh2.4 billion over the next six months for Emiratis and 500 beneficiaries will benefit from the housing loans on a monthly basis.

“Our aim is to complete 13,000 houses as part of the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme over the next years, and we will continue to support our citizens,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

The meeting also touched on the country’s economic results compared to the pre-COVID-19 pandemic period, showing a 47 per cent growth in non-oil exports, 16 per cent increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) and 125 per cent growth in the number of new companies registered in the country.

“Our economy is fine and growing as our march of development is on the rise, thank God,” the Vice-President said.

Agreements on performance of ministers were also signed during the Cabinet meeting. For completion of 36 transformational projects, a time-limit of six to 12 months was fixed. The move aims to enable the government to respond swiftly and with greater flexibility to changes.

Cultural and Creative industries

The Cabinet also approved the statistical framework for cultural and creative industries and directed all parties concerned to follow up on its implementation and development. According to the latest figures, the contribution of cultural and creative industries to the UAE’s gross domestic product was 3.5 per cent, equivalent to Dh54.4 billion, which constitutes 5 per cent of the country’s non-oil GDP, while the number of small and medium industries covered by this sector is more than 36,000.

Corporate Tax law

The Cabinet approved several amendments to tax laws in conjunction with the introduction of the Corporate Tax (CT) law, ease of doing business and strengthening the UAE’s position in various global competitiveness indicators. The move aims to raise the efficiency of the financial and tax system.

It also approved several amendments to some provisions of the Tax Procedure Act, with the basic provisions of the law remaining in force with some amendments and the addition of new articles to comply with Corporate Tax to ensure the success of the tax system and raise its efficiency and enhance transparency in order to preserve public money and ensure economic sustainability.

The Cabinet also endorsed the issuance of a federal law on finance lease with the aim of expanding the base of financing and lending through finance leases and emphasising the principle of freedom of contracting in order to ensure flexibility in concluding finance leases, achieving the ideal balance of rights and duties of parties involved in these contracts.

The Cabinet also endorsed a number of international agreements.