Dubai Free Zones offer stimulus, SCCI goes online

By Eudore R. Chand


UAE 29 March 2020: Dubai Free Zones Council yesterday 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.

It includes five key elements:

  1. Postponement of rent payments by a period of 6 months
  2. Facilitating installments for payments
  3. Refunding security deposits and guarantees
  4. Cancellation of fines for both companies and individuals
  5. 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.

Ensuring the business continuity of companies and providing them the support they need are critical to Dubai economy’s ability to successfully overcome the crisis, said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airport Free Zone.

He added that the Dubai Free Zones’ stimulus measures complement national efforts to reduce the impact of recent global challenges. They provide companies with the liquidity necessary to tackle the current situation and maintain competitive advantage and sustainable growth. This initiative supports a wide range of SMEs in maintaining their competitiveness.

Dubai Free Zones contributions to Dubai’s Gross Domestic Product reached 33%. They provide a base for 44,985 companies and provide a total of 389,336 jobs.

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
  • Dubai Multi Commodities Centre

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

Essa Kazim, Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), said 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% 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.

Saeed Humaid Matar Al Tayer, Chairman and CEO of Meydan Group, said: “A package of initiatives has been developed in coordination with the DFZ Council to reduce financial burdens on individuals and companies, including waiving fines on expired licenses, facilitating payments installments, and waiving licensing fees for the first year. We salute our leaders for their honourable efforts in providing all kinds of support for society”.

Malek Sultan Al Malek, Director General of the Dubai Development Authority (DDA) and Group CEO of Tecom Group said, the package includes a set of initiatives which provide the necessary resources and support to SMEs in order to ensure their continuity. Companies can postpone payments, and new firms can postpone their lease periods and cancel their registration fees for a period of 6 months. They can also cancel all fines on expired licenses and other financial and administrative fees. The package also offers flexible fee payments, including building licenses and services, in addition to refunding security deposits and guarantees to enhance their liquidity.

Khalifa Al Zaffin, Executive Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation and Dubai South said,the package offers four initiatives including waiving fees on residential land and expired licenses, facilitating payments through monthly checks and exempting licensing fees for the first year.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, CEO and Executive Chairman of DMCC said: “We have also offered large exemptions on a wide range of fees for the 17,000 registered companies, by reducing registration fees by 50% for new companies joining the center, while current companies now have 30% discounts on renewal and amendment fees. In addition, we have launched many flexible payment options for various sectors. We will continue supporting their needs and announce additional details in due course.”

SCCI online attestation for all transactions

The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce (SCCI), has activated online attestation services for all transactions through the chamber’s website or the smart application instead of coming in person to the customer happiness centers.

The move comes as part of the precautionary measures adopted by the SCCI to combat the spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) and its implications on the business sector and to ensure the health and safety of customers while maintaining business with the same level of efficiency.

The SCCI explained that the online transactions include ratifying the signature, individual sponsorship, minors permission, a certified true copy, guardian approval, and external transactions, in addition to the possibility of online payment via credit card or prepaid from the account of the registered company.
Enhancing the Business Environment Competitiveness

Mohammad Ahmed Amin Al-Awadi, SCCI’s Director-General, shed light on the precautionary measures, including remote working system and online services which are completely covered (100%) such as the completion of certificates of origin, attestations, and memberships, in addition to a number of other online services.

Free Services

The SCCI has also announced the provision of the “You call, We arrive” service for free for all customers, as part of its precautionary measures to ensure the safety of its employees and customers. The “You call, We arrive” service, which is the first of its kind in Sharjah, aims to help customers, investors, commercial and industrial companies save time and efforts by providing them with a fully equipped van to do the transaction in one spot.

The smart services include the issuance of memberships, certificates of origin and attestations. The vehicle is equipped with high-quality technology to serve the clients, comfortable seats, internet services, chargers, laptops and any services that the customer needs to carry out transactions.