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Coronavirus: Postponement of rent for 6 months at Dubai free zones

Staff Report/Dubai
Filed on March 28, 2020 | Last updated on March 28, 2020 at 06.20 pm
coronavirus, covid-19, dubai free zone, rent relief, postponement of rent

(alamy.com/ae)

Initiative announced on the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The Dubai Free Zones Council has announced a major relief package for companies operating in free zones. including rent postponement up to six months to help them overcome Covid-19 challenges.

This initiative has been taken under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

In addition to rent postponments, the package includes facilitating payments through easy installments, refunding insurance amounts, cancelling fines on companies and individuals, refunding security deposits and guarantees, and temporary contracts that allow the free movement of labour between companies operating in the free zones.

The entities that contributed to this economic stimulus package, in coordination with the Dubai Free Zones Council, include the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority, Jebel Ali Free Zone, the Dubai World Trade Centre, the Dubai International Financial Centre, the Dubai Development Authority, Dubai South, Meydan City Corporation and the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre.

"Dubai free zones are working to support the economic system continuously and at all times to enhances the competitiveness of Dubai and to ensure business continuity for companies in all sectors, especially small and medium companies," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Free Zones Council, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Emirates airline and Chief Executive of the Emirates Group.

He stressed that ensuring the business continuity of companies and providing them the support they need are critical to the Dubai economy's ability to successfully overcome the crisis.

"We are keen to provide the necessary support for companies through a package of discounts and exemptions from fees in Jebel Ali Free Zone, National Industries Park and Dubai Cars and Automotive Zone. This includes waiving fines on expired trade licences for companies operating in these zones. In addition, new companies can start their businesses without paying licence fees for the first year," said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO of DP World and CEO and chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation.

"We can help maintain sustainable commercial operations through these measures and reduce burdens on the sectors most affected by this crisis, such as SMEs by providing the necessary support to all customers, partners and suppliers," Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, said.

"Through its initiatives, Dubai is proving its ability to mitigate the negative effects of the crisis and speed up the revival of its economy, with future positive returns for the Emirate and the region, in addition to the preventive measures it has taken to limit the spread of Covid-19," said Dr Mohammed Al Zarouni, vice-chairman and CEO of the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority and director-general of the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority.

Essa Kazim, governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre, said the DIFC proposes implementing five initiatives over the next three months. These include waiving annual licence fees for new companies during the next three months and a 10 per cent discount on renewal fees for existing licences 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 six months. the DIFC will reduce its ownership transfer fees from 5 per cent to 4 per cent for any property sale that occurs within the authorised three-month period, if ownership transfers are registered at the 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 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.

Malek Sultan Al Malek, director-general of the Dubai Development Authority and group CEO of Tecom Group, said companies can postpone payments, and new firms can postpone their lease periods and cancel their registration fees for a period of six months. They can also cancel all fines on expired licences 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 licences, facilitating payments through monthly checks and exempting licensing fees for the first year.

"We have also offered large exemptions on a wide range of fees for the 17,000 registered companies, by reducing registration fees by 50 per cent for new companies joining the centre, while current companies now have 30 per cent 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," said Ahmed bin Sulayem, CEO and executive chairman of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre.

Measures announced

- Up to 6-month rent postponement period
- Easy installments
- Refund of insurance amounts
- Cancelling fines on firms/individuals
- Free movement of labour in free zones

Earlier this month, Jebel Ali Free Zone had announced across-the-board reduction in licence registration and administration costs for old and new firms operating in the free zone. It announced 50-70 per cent reduction business-related fees for registration, licensing and administrative related charges.

This initiative will benefit over 7,500 companies operating in Jafza and hundreds of new businesses set to establish presence there.

waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com


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