Abu Dhabi fee cuts to boost investor morale, enhance business ecosystem

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Dubai - Yusuffali MA, chairman of Lulu Group, welcomed the move as a very timely and effective decision.

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Issac John

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Published: Mon 26 Jul 2021, 7:55 PM

Last updated: Tue 27 Jul 2021, 6:23 AM

Abu Dhabi’s ground-breaking initiative to slash business set up fees by more than 90 per cent from July 27 will have a far-reaching positive impact on the entrepreneurial ecosystem and investment landscape of the emirate, analysts and business leaders said.

On Sunday, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (Added), in partnership with other government entities, cut business set-up fees by 94 per cent to Dh1,000 in line with the emirate’s on-going drive to enhance its competitiveness to attract more investors.


Welcoming the latest pro-investment reform, prominent businessmen and analysts said the significant change in fee structure would be beneficial to new and existing businesses alike while drastically boosting the confidence and competitiveness of the business community as it strives to navigate the crippling impact of the pandemic.

Yusuffali MA, chairman of Lulu Group, welcomed the move as a very timely and effective decision which will further boost the investments and business scenario in Abu Dhabi.


“Many young entrepreneurs will surely benefit from this initiative especially during these challenging times. I am sure this initiative will further boost Abu Dhabi’s image as the key economic and investment hub in the region for startups,” said Yusuffali.

Adeeb Ahamed, managing director, Lulu financial Holdings, termed the fee revision a continuation of the progressive measures being taken by the emirate to project its strengths and establish itself as an investor-friendly destination. “The initiative will further raise the standing of the emirate as an investor-friendly destination, and encourage more FDIs to tap into the opportunities offered by the country as a digital economy, while simultaneously fostering a culture of entrepreneurship among the country’s residents.”

“It is important, more than ever now, to create opportunities for economic growth, and one way to do this is by creating an ecosystem that is geared to generate jobs in both traditional and emerging industries. Tapping human capital is essential in this regard and reducing the setup fees removes a key bottleneck for SMEs and individuals, especially in the creative, manufacturing and service sectors, to want to make a difference. Ultimately, business-friendly measures such as today’s announcement will benefit the local and national economy and enable Abu Dhabi to play a key role in the economic diversification of the UAE,” said Ahamed.

Kesavan Muraleedharan, managing director of SFC Group, said it is heartening to see that the leaders have come forward to help businesses in times of difficulty. “These measures allow businesses breathing space, especially for the SMEs and those in the hospitality industry, and demonstrate the government’s responsive support for private sector and entrepreneurs. Through innovative ways and it will be well-received by a grateful and struggling business community.”

Sharad Bhandari, managing partner, Ardent Advisory and Accounting, said such a significant reduction in licence fees is yet another excellent far-reaching action that would extend immediate tangible benefits to existing Abu Dhabi businesses. “The reduced fees will also help in making Abu Dhabi much more attractive to the start-up community.”

“This is a great initiative that will help businesses during these testing times. The whole business community is thankful to the visionary leaders for making this possible,” said Tushar Patni, managing director, Ajanta Jewellers.

The fixed fee move is also aimed at increasing transparency and further enhancing the ease of doing business environment for investors and SMEs, they said.

As Mohammed Al Shorafa, chairman of Added, has said, the progressive measure, a part of Abu Dhabi’s new economic strategy, would go a long way to reinforcing the emirate’s agenda to provide entrepreneurs a thriving business environment that encourages growth and innovation. Ease of starting and managing a business is a key lever, and we strongly believe the restructuring of fees will help us achieve this goal.”

The fee cut move is the latest in a series of investor-friendly measures Abu Dhabi has taken. These include providing rent rebates, discounts on utility bills and loan guarantee packages, to support businesses and stimulate economic growth.

The revised fees are applicable to six activities within the business licence and will cover all fees from Abu Dhabi government entities such as Added, the Department of Municipalities and Transport, membership fees for Abu Dhabi Chamber, CoC (Certificate of Conformity) issuance fee and charges required by Abu Dhabi regulating entities dependent on the type of business. — issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com


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