Dubai boosts support for businesses amid Covid-19 challenges
The Dubai Free Zones Council has committed to a massive economic stimulus package to support the city’s businesses and investors during the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown.
The news follows a similar commitment by UAE authorities of $34 billion in financial support for the country’s private sector.
According to a government statement, the Dubai Free Zones Council’s package “contributes to strengthening and supporting Dubai’s businesses by reducing the impact of the current economic situation”.
It includes five key elements: postponement of rent payments by a period of six months; facilitating instalments for payments; refunding security deposits and guarantees; cancellation of fines for both companies and individuals; and 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, the Council said.
Dubai’s free zones are a cornerstone of the emirate’s economy, accounting for 33% of GDP in 2019. The precincts, which enable businesses to operate independently and tax-free, are home to 44,985 companies and account for 389,336 jobs, according to government data.
Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, said: “Dubai's economy has a great flexibility and the potential to adapt to unpredictable global fluctuations. This has been proven as the world faces a challenging reality that requires strong coordination and rapid collective action, in addition to strengthening collaboration efforts between public and private sectors and society. As an essential tourism pillar in Dubai, DWTC bears national responsibility to support its partners in dealing with the current risks of COVID-19. 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.