Covid war: UAE winning on both healthcare and economic fronts


This major fee reduction certainly augurs well for businesses that have been facing tough times since the outbreak of Covid-19.

Published: Mon 26 Jul 2021, 10:57 PM

Last updated: Mon 26 Jul 2021, 11:03 PM

The UAE has been fighting the Covid-19 pandemic not just on the healthcare front, but also on the economic line. The latest initiative by Abu Dhabi to reduce business setup and licence renewal fees — to a rock-bottom Dh1,000, effective from today — also saw a number of government departments playing their role to ease the burden on local businesses. The new fees cover six activities within business licences and all fees from Abu Dhabi Government entities such as the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, the Department of Municipalities and Transport, membership fees for the Abu Dhabi Chamber, certificate of conformity issuance fee, and fees required by Abu Dhabi regulating entities dependent on the type of business. Several fees have been removed entirely while others have been considerably reduced.

This major fee reduction certainly augurs well for businesses that have been facing tough times since the outbreak of Covid-19. This is yet another major step taken as part of the series of measures announced by the Abu Dhabi Government, the Central Bank of the UAE and different public sector entities to support local businesses to overcome financial difficulties. Thanks to such supportive measures, the UAE Capital’s ranking has improved in the past year, currently 56th in the Mercer’s Cost of Living index for 2021, an improvement from 39th the previous year. In addition to the diversification of the economy away from the hydrocarbon sector, credit certainly goes to such investor-friendly policies taken by the authorities that made Abu Dhabi and the UAE a more business-friendly place to invest in.

In addition to Abu Dhabi, the other emirates, especially Dubai, have also taken steps along the similar lines to support SMEs against the pandemic. Dubai has also announced billions of dirhams in relief measures for the private sector through rent relief, fee cuts and waiving of fines, among several others. Overall, the UAE economy has received direct and indirect support measures to the tune of over Dh388 billion in the form of fee reductions, suspension of fines, loan deferments and many more. As a result of these measures, the UAE economy is projected to continue to grow faster over the next two years. As per the latest Standard Chartered report released on Sunday, the UAE’s real GDP will bounce back to grow 2.5 per cent this year, three per cent in 2022 and 3.5 per cent a year later. As the Covid-19 pandemic prolongs, UAE authorities continue to innovate and come up with fresh measures to soften the blow of the pandemic on the economy and businesses in the country. These measures not just provide a lifeline to small and medium businesses, but also ensure the overall economic recovery is steady.

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