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Dubai freezes licence fees for one year

Dubai Government’s trade licensing body – the Department of Economic Development (DED) – said, it has exempted companies and business establishments in Dubai from all fines imposed on them and granted them time till end of 2018 to renew their licenses.

“The DED launched a package to make it further easier for businesses to clear fines and renew their licenses. The package will allow businesses to pay their fees and fines in easy instalments, freeze their trade license for a year and seek an amicable settlement with DED on commercial violations,” it said in a statement issued on Saturday.

“The service package is part of enabling businesses to overcome obstacles and benefit from a credit facility that would allow them to maintain their competitiveness. DED had recently exempted companies and business establishments in Dubai from all fines imposed on them and granted them time till end of 2018 to renew their licenses.”

The move comes after Abu Dhabi and Dubai governments have announced a number of stimulus packages to create employment and sustain businesses. However, in Dubai, the announcements are more on the lines of offering leniency in paying fines or reducing fines and fees – in order to help struggling companies continue their business activities amid declining demand and business activities.

The move comes a few months after the government raised fees and introducing a 5 percent value-added-tax (VAT) that has adversely affected businesses.

The new package allows for the payment of license renewal fees and accumulated fines through convenient instalments within 12 months. DED is extending the facility in co-operation with its strategic partner aafaq Islamic Finance and a number of local banks. Business owners can approach any of the DED service centres located throughout Dubai or visit the DED website for more details on the facility.

Mohammed Al Shehhi, Deputy CEO, Corporate Support Services sector in DED, said: “The Department of Economic Development is committed to enhancing competitiveness in Dubai through extending value added facilities that help business owners continue their activity and sustain their business. Eliminating all obstacles faced by companies is important to developing the economy and creating a competitive environment conducive to investment in Dubai.”

The licensee can benefit from the instalment if fines and fees have been accumulated for more than a year. Investors can apply for the fees not to be paid and avoid fines in case they wish to temporarily freeze doing business while retaining their license.

The waiver applies to fines issued before 14/04/2018 and for fines issued after this date license holders can take advantage of the offer of amicable settlement and payment in instalments. The licensee who requests amicable settlement must not have benefitted from any other exemptions following the first fine issued after 14/04/2018. As such license holders are entitled to a 50% reduction in the basic value of penalties issued for the first violation.

Al Shehhi added that revitalizing businesses and offering improved flexibility to businessmen and investors are a top priority for DED. “Facilitating payment of fees and fines as well as license renewals will eventually enable Dubai to attract investors and reinforce itself as a global trading and economic hub.”

Al Shehhi stressed that the new service package is an opportunity for investors and businessmen seeking to renew or their licenses or clear their penalties. It will allow businesses to go past hurdles and focus on growth and seeking further investments thus creating more new job opportunities.