Abu Dhabi customs rolls out stimulus package for importers

The new measures include postponement of customs duties for 90 days to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on businesses

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - - -  13 February 2017 --- Gray skies spread a blanket over the Abu Dhabi skyline on Monday, February 13, 2017, but did not put a damper on the spirit of people and birds that flocked to the breakwater. (  DELORES JOHNSON / The National  )  
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The General Administration of Abu Dhabi Customs rolled out an economic stimulus package to offset the impact of the coronavirus on businesses who use the emirate's ports for imports or as a transit gateway.

The new incentives include the postponement of customs duties for 90 days for importers through facilities accounts and the acceptance of institutional guarantees, instead of bank guarantees, for customs transactions.

Importers can also use pre-clearance services for clearing goods before they arrive in the country through the customs operations system. A self-clearance service allows companies to clear shipments on their own without relying on customs clearance and bond warehouses can be licenced without fees, the statement said. Companies can also issue a customs warehouse licence without the need to pay licence fees and can take items from customs warehouses without paying services fees, according to a statement.

The incentive package also includes the extension of the transit period of shipments from 3 to 5 days.

“The economic incentives package comes within the framework of Abu Dhabi government efforts to support continuously the economic system and companies, especially small and medium ones, in order to enhance the competitiveness of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and ensure business continuity for companies in all sectors,” Rashed Al Mansoori, director-general of the general administration of Abu Dhabi Customs, said.

The UAE was the first country in the Mena region to roll out fiscal and monetary support now totalling more than Dh282 billion, providing zero interest funding to encourage banks to lend in addition to a variety of other initiatives that range from discounted utility bills to waivers of government fees.

In March, the Abu Dhabi government announced a number of measures to support businesses in the emirate. The government allocated Dh5bn to subsidising water and electricity for citizens and commercial and industrial activities. It also reduced electricity connection fees for start-ups until the end of this year and exempted all commercial and industrial activities from Tawtheeq fees in 2020.

The emirate also allocated Dh3bn for an SME credit guarantee scheme, dedicated Dh1bn to establish a market maker fund to stabilise stock market pricing and issued directives to settle all approved government payables and invoices within 15 working days.