Abu Dhabi and Dubai waive corporate fines to boost growth

Government cancels administrative penalties for businesses whose licences have expired

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid offered fatherly advice to the UAE's top three female high school achievers and wished them further success in higher education. Christopher Pike / The National
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Dubai and Abu Dhabi are exempting companies from administrative fines for at least the rest of the year, as part of efforts to stimulate business growth and economic development, according to official statements on Tuesday.

A decree by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Ruler of Dubai, said the Department for Economic Development is cancelling fines imposed on businesses whose licences have expired until the end of 2018. Abu Dhabi said it will exempt businesses whose licences have not been valid for more than 24 months.

“This decree is a positive step in promoting economic growth and consolidating Dubai’s position as one of the most important commercial and economic centres internationally,” Omar Bushahab, chief executive of the business registration and licensing at DED, said in a statement on Dubai Media Office’s website.

“It reaffirms to investors and businessmen around the world that Dubai effectively addresses various economic variables with a forward-looking vision by adopting best practices and regulations. It also helps to remove concerns among investors and entrepreneurs looking to expand their business.”

Mr Bushahab urged companies to take the necessary steps to renew their licences before the end of the grace period.


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In parallel, Khalifa bin Salem Al Mansouri, acting undersecretary of the DED in Abu Dhabi, said the emirate was exempting “establishments whose licences have expired for more than 24 months – and which have applied for renewal, liquidation or cancellation of trade licence – from paying all delayed and accumulated fees”.

The move aims to improve the competitiveness of Abu Dhabi’s business environment and “encourage and motivate” business sector, he added.

The DED levies multiple fines for commercial violations, some could be worth thousands of dirhams. The UAE’s economy is recovering from muted growth in the past two years amid sustained low oil prices. The GDP is expected to gather speed in 2018 and 2019, rising to about 3 per cent from less than 2 per cent in 2017, however, the introduction of VAT in January has added additional costs on businesses.

The government is keen to attract more investments to the country, and last week announced plans to allow 100 per cent foreign ownership in companies in the UAE from the end of this year.