Sunday 20 September 2020 - 4:07:06 pm

‘Market Dialogue’ brings focus on diversity and benefits of COVID-19 stimulus packages


DUBAI, 9th August, 2020 (WAM) -- Dubai Economy brought focus on the effectiveness and inclusiveness of the stimulus packages announced by Dubai following COVID-19 in its 6th Market Dialogue held recently with the business community.

The virtual dialogue titled ‘The AED 6.3 billion opportunity for business in Dubai’ hosted by Mohammed Shael Al Saadi, CEO of Corporate Strategic Affairs in Dubai Economy, discussed the incentive packages launched by the Government of Dubai to reduce the economic impact of the pandemic and the facilities and benefits they offer to everyone contributing to the economy in Dubai.

Speaking at the event Al Saadi said, "The economic stimulus packages launched by the Dubai Government have contributed significantly and effectively to support the steadfastness and continuity of businesses in facing various implications of the pandemic. It also demonstrated the leadership’s efforts to preserve the emirate’s global investment environment, in addition to the speed of the response, which in turn played an important role in swiftly containing the repercussions, revitalising, and resetting the economy."

He stressed that the Dubai Government launched three incentive packages, the first of which came close on the heels of the pandemic outbreak in March, reassuring businesses on its continued support. The first package included 15 initiatives worth AED 1.5 billion to support companies and the business sector in Dubai, enhance financial liquidity, and mitigate the effects of unprecedented economic circumstances globally.

The sectors targeted included tourism, retail, foreign trade, and the logistics, in addition to a set of incentives for all citizens and residents of the emirate. The initiatives included freezing the 2.5 percent market fee to all establishments operating in the emirate for a period of three months, a 20 percent refund of the 5 percent customs tariff paid for imported goods sold locally, and eliminating the requirement of bank documents when submitting customs complaints, among others.

Al Saadi added, "The second package was launched towards the end of March, with five initiatives worth AED 3.3 billion. Of its most prominent initiatives was a six-month rent deferment and refund of deposits and guarantees. This was followed by a third package that comprised 18 initiatives worth AED 1.5 billion, most prominently the cancellation of all late payment penalties, 50 percent of refund of hotel sales and tourism fees.

Al Saadi also spoke about the incentives Dubai Economy offered as part of the stimulus package, including the facility to renew licences without an Ejari contract, and waiver of the 25 percent down payment requirement for paying licence fees in 12-month instalments. Businesses have been also exempted from paying fees to Dubai Economy for organising sales and promotions. Initially offered for three months, these incentives have now been extended for a further three months up to end of September 2020.

Dubai Free Zones also launched an additional economic incentives package, which included five axes: rent deferment for a period of six months, easy payments through monthly instalments, the refund of insurance and guarantees, and abolishing many fines on companies and individuals, in addition to granting free movement of labour within free zones through permanent or temporary contracts and without fines during 2020.

Al Saadi also shed light on the incentives offered by Dubai SME, the agency of Dubai Economy mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise, SME, sector whereby members were offered financing facility on invoices and capital guarantee on financing, in addition to increased access to government procurement opportunities under a Government Procurement Programme, GPP.

He said some on the stimulus measures were blanket incentives applicable to every business, such as the 10 percent discount on DEWA bills, while others were targeted at specific sectors and activities as in the case of the customs fees waiver for logistics companies.

The extent and diversity of the incentives and the sectors targeted allow a large number of businesses to go past the pandemic challenge and continue their business, Al Saadi said. This has boosted business confidence and investor confidence in Dubai and in the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The CEO of Corporate Strategic Affairs in Dubai Economy stressed that Dubai is monitoring the economic situation closely and following up on the most important developments, engaging with the private sector in formulating protocols and offering solutions and ideas that would enable all sectors to adapt to the new normal. Dubai Economy launched a business impact survey at the beginning of the pandemic and engaged hundreds of companies, business councils, and groups to identify the challenges they face and propose innovative solutions that would support business continuity. The survey is progressing through various stages, with its results being rapidly drawn.

The private sector and free zones in Dubai played a prominent role in supporting government initiatives and provided various incentives and initiatives, which confirm mutual trust and alignment between the public and private sectors in the emirate, said Al Saadi. The commitment shown by the various sectors to the precautionary measures expedited the re-opening of the various economic sectors, thereby presenting the emirate as a global model in crisis preparedness and adapting to changes.

Al Saadi explained that companies established in the UAE and Dubai, including those in the mainland and free zones and those headquartered abroad, can benefit from the stimulus packages launched by the Dubai Government or the federal government regardless of the nationality of the owners as long as they contribute to the emirate’s economy. More than 150 incentives worth over AED 282 billion were announced across the UAE at the Federal and local levels following the pandemic outbreak in March 2020.

WAM/Tariq alfaham/MOHD AAMIR