Dubai government increases economic stimulus to Dh7.1bn

Emirate injects an additional Dh315m to support businesses

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 26 DECEMBER 2020. 
Dubai skyline.
(Photo: Reem Mohammed/The National)

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Dubai launched an additional Dh315 million ($85.8m) stimulus package to support the economy, pushing the total value of measures introduced by the emirate so far to Dh7.1 billion.

"The Dubai government continues to assess the current global economic situation and the various developments amid these exceptional circumstances in an effort to develop practical strategies that will enable us to efficiently mitigate the repercussions of the global pandemic on the economy," Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, said in a statement on his website.

“Despite the challenges imposed by the pandemic worldwide, our economy is steadily recovering."

Dubai has the capability and resources to achieve economic excellence and accelerate the recovery of its various business sectors, Sheikh Hamdan said.

"We are confident the next phase will bring new opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors."

The decision to launch the new stimulus package is based on recommendations made by the Dubai Economy Support Committee, chaired by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

The package extends the validity of some of the initiatives announced in the previous stimulus measure for another six months, starting from January 2021 until the end of June.

Dubai unveiled its first stimulus package in March 2020, with measures addressing the demand side of the economy – covering consumption, investment and the trade and travel sectors. It also addressed the supply side including the workforce-related issues, supply chains and a reduction in the cost of doing business in the emirate.

Under the new stimulus measures, exemptions from fees charged for the postponement and cancellation of recreational and sports events as well as conferences and exhibitions in the tourism, entertainment and events sector, have been extended.

The package extends a freeze on fees charged for ticket sales, issuing permits and other government fees imposed on entertainment and business events.

It also includes a one-off exemption this year for commercial establishments and hotels that hadn't benefited from previous reductions in market fees. Non-beach hotels and restaurants will be refunded 50 per cent of their hotel sales fees as well as their Tourism Dirham Fee, according to the statement.

The approved measures allow for commercial license renewals without a mandatory renewal of lease contracts.

Additionally, nurseries leasing land lots from the Knowledge Fund Establishment will continue to benefit from the 50 per cent reduction in land rent.

The emirate, the commercial and trading hub of the Middle East, faced headwinds as a number of sectors including tourism, trade and real estate slowed amid restrictions on movements to stop the spread of Covid-19, leading to an estimated economic contraction of 6.2 per cent last year,  the Dubai Media Office said in a December 23 statement.

However, economic momentum is picking up pace and Dubai’s economy is forecast to expand 4 per cent in 2021, driven by its effective response to curb the virus and protect livelihoods, according to government projections released last month.

The emirate's strong economic fundamentals and the pandemic-delayed Expo 2020 in October this year are expected to drive growth this year.

Last month, Dubai also began a free mass inoculation campaign with the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, which is expected to further boost confidence of businesses and help increase economic activity.

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