Ras Al Khaimah cuts licence fees and waives fines to support businesses amid Covid-19

The emirate’s free zone launched several incentives such as an exemption from licence renewal fees and a discount in residency visa charges to support businesses

RAK, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , May 28 – 2020 :- People wearing protective face mask as a preventive measure against the spread of coronavirus during the evening near the beach area in Ras Al Khaimah. UAE government lift the coronavirus restriction for the residents and businesses around the country. (Pawan Singh / The National) For News/Online/Stock/Instagram.

Ras Al Khaimah is discounting administrative fees and waiving fines as part of a stimulus package to support businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic and ensure business continuity.

Some of the measures include extending the licence renewal period for 60 days from the date of expiry, waiving the marketing fees for two months, and exempting businesses from penalties for late payment of fees, the emirate’s government said in a statement on Saturday.

“The current circumstances compel us to act in unison and create practical strategies to deal efficiently with this situation and to prepare ourselves to make the most of available opportunities in the post-Covid-19 period,” Mohamed Abdullatif Khalifa, secretary general of the executive council of Ras Al Khaimah, said.

The emirate’s free zone, Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone, has launched various incentives to support 15,000 companies operating within it. These include a three-month exemption from renewing commercial licenses, a 25 per cent discount on new residency visas for dependents, an exemption from renewal delay fines, waiver of cheque postponement fees and a further 25 per cent discount on workers housing applications among others.

Ras Al Khaimah’s municipality is offering its retail tenants at its markets and advertising companies a three-month rent free period and is exempting companies from paying the municipal rental documentation fees. The authority has also reduced fees for issuing health insurance cards.

The emirate, which is rapidly emerging as tourism hub, also revealed a slew of measures to support the industry. Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority will provide a six-month exemption from the tourist licence fees while the tourist dirham fee will be waived from March to May.

“A financial incentives package is also being launched, targeting private tourism companies including mid-level and four-star hotels and specific tourist destinations, golf courses and other tourism institutions," the statement said.

Ras Al Khaimah also is one of the first emirates to replace fines for environmental violations incurred before March 31 this year with planting of trees. The number of trees will be determined by the severity of each violation and the authority will provide the trees to be planted, the government said.

The UAE has taken various measures to support businesses hit by the physical distancing measures in place to fight Covid-19.

Earlier this year, Fujairah announced tax relief for some businesses in retail and hospitality as the Covid-19 containment measures disrupted daily operations. The tax relief was aimed at businesses in the northern emirate that were affected as a result of stay-at-home directives which in turn led to their temporary closure.