The UAE Cabinet has agreed to slash utility bills by 20 per cent for three months to boost businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Cabinet, chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, approved a decision to write off Dh86 million (US$23.4m) in electricity and water payments from malls, shops, hotels, hotel apartments and factories from April.
The decision affects businesses registered with the Federal Authority of Water and Electricity.
Those businesses will also benefit from a six-month payment deferral of connection fees.
Tough measures introduced by the UAE to encourage social distancing and curb the spread of the coronavirus have had an inevitable knock-on effect on trade.
Markets and shopping malls have been ordered to close temporarily, while the only retailers to remain open will be supermarkets and pharmacies.
Restaurants and cafes will offer only home deliveries with no dining in.
Authorities have taken steps to ease the impact on businesses and people across the Emirates.
The Ruler of Sharjah has ordered utility bills in the emirate to be cut by 10 per cent for three months to ease pressure on residents.
The decree by Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi will wipe out more than Dh230m in payments over the period.
Sheikh Dr Sultan said the move was in line with efforts to provide stability to the public during challenging times caused by the spread of the pandemic.
Dr Rashid Al Leem, chairman of Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, thanked Sheikh Dr Sultan for his humanitarian gesture.
This month, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, announced a 10 per cent reduction in water and electricity bills for citizens, expatriates and businesses would be brought in for three months.
The reduction was to cut living and operating costs as part of a Dh1.5 billion stimulus package.
“The world is going through difficult times but we have the capability to navigate challenges successfully,” Sheikh Hamdan said.
Abu Dhabi also said it would reduce utility bills and waive road toll charges for the rest of the year as part of a major support package for businesses and people.