A guide to the relief and stimulus measures offered for businesses In Dubai amid the COVID-19 crisis

Given the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses in Dubai have been subjected to a variety of relief measures and stimulus packages from both government and commercial entities in the Emirate and the UAE to help them during this crisis. Scroll down this post for more details on each of them.

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan releases an AED1.5 billion economic stimulus package

At the very outset of the COVID-19 crisis in the UAE in mid-March 2020, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, released a AED1.5 billion economic stimulus package for businesses for the following three months. Developed by Dubai Government, the stimulus package includes 15 initiatives focused on the commercial sector, retail, external trade, tourism, and the energy sector. These include:

– Nine initiatives for the commercial and business sector, which include a freeze on the 2.5% market fees levied on all facilities operating in Dubai; a refund of 20% on the customs fees imposed on imported products sold locally in Dubai markets; the cancellation of the AED50,000 bank guarantee or cash required to undertake customs clearance activity while bank guarantee or cash paid by existing customs clearance companies will be refunded. Furthermore, fees imposed on submitting customs documents of companies will be reduced by 90%. With regards to measures for boosting external trade, the requirement for providing a banking instrument while submitting customs-related grievances has been cancelled. In addition, traditional wooden commercial vessels registered in the country will be exempted from mooring service fees for arrival and departure, as well as direct and indirect loading fees at Dubai Harbour and Hamriyah Port.

Local commerce will benefit from the cancelation of the 25% down payment required for requesting installment-based payment of government fees for obtaining and renewing licenses. The move seeks to reduce the financial burden on SMEs. In addition, commercial licenses can be renewed without mandatory renewal of lease contracts in a move aimed at stimulating business activity and easing government-related procedures. In addition, companies will be exempted from permits for new sales and offers.

– Four initiatives for the tourism sector, including the reduction of municipality fees imposed on sales at hotels from 7% to 3.5%. The second initiative exempts companies from fees charged for postponement and cancellation of tourism and sports events scheduled for the year 2020. The third initiative freezes fees for the rating of hotels. The fourth initiative freezes the fees charged for the sale of tickets, issuance of permits, and other government fees related to entertainment and business events.

– Two other initiatives that seek to reduce the cost of living and doing business for citizens, expatriate residents, and the business community through 10% reduction in water and electricity bills including those charged in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, for a period of three months. The second initiative reduces deposit paid for water and electricity connections by 50%.

Dubai banks offers business relief package for customers

A number of Dubai banks are offering a relief package to help ease the financial hurdles amidst the current COVID-19 crisis. In light of supporting the business sectors in the UAE and Dubai, the measures follow the initiative of the UAE government and UAE Central Bank six-month economic stimulus package and the Dubai government three-month economic stimulus package. Emirates NBD, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates Islamic, Mashreq, and Commercial Bank of Dubai are some of the banks that have joined the effort. Taking into effect from April 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020, there are various offers for different types of customers, including small business customers, business banking customers, and trading clients, among others. 

RAKBANK takes measures to support SMEs

The National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah (RAKBANK) is offering financial relief to SMEs and corporates impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. SMEs are encouraged to shift their business online and discuss options for financial relief. For businesses that offer essential services, such as delivery of medicines and groceries, RAKBANK Simplify platform’s monthly fee will be waived off for the next three months. 

UAE Cabinet approves reduction on water and electricity bills of businesses

In a move to support businesses affected by the pandemic, the UAE Cabinet has approved the decision to reduce the water and electricity bill of shopping malls, commercial shops, hotels, hotel apartments, and plants, by 20% for the duration of three months, starting from April 2020. They will also benefit from six months payment deferral of water and electricity connection’s installments, and three months freeze of service reconnection fines, varying from AED3,000 to AED5,000. 

Read the full extensive article to find out what other measures Dubai has put in place.

With Mawdoo3, Jamalon, and HyperPay raising a combined $33M in total funding in 2019, it was a record year by funding for the Jordanian startup ecosystem. Learn more about one of MENA's oldest ecosystems in our 2019 Jordan Venture Investment Report.

Source: design-middleeast.com