Dubai FDI calls on free zone companies and investors to capitalise on stimulus measures

Webinar highlights role of free zones in attracting FDI and driving economic growth, as well as the steps taken by individual free zones to ensure business continuity

Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of Dubai Economy, called on businesses and investors to capitalise on the incentives announced by the various free zones to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on economic activity in the emirate.

Senior officials from Dubai Economy and prominent free zones, such as Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), Dubai Internet City, and Dubai South joined Dubai FDI in a webinar today to address businesses and investors, highlight the measures adopted by their respective free zone in line with the stimulus packages announced in Dubai and the UAE to ensure business continuity and sustain growth following the pandemic.

The webinar was the fourth in the ‘Public-Private Connect Programme 2020’ series designed by Dubai FDI to foster public-private engagement and update the local, regional and global private sector on the progressive measures being adopted by the government to strengthen Dubai and the UAE as a business-friendly destination that enables sustainable growth.

A 10-year-old programme, the Public-Private Connect is a vibrant platform for the public and private sectors to discuss new developments as well as explore and strengthen partnerships.

The Dubai Free Zones Council announced a comprehensive economic stimulus package and member free zones rolled out specific initiatives to reduce business costs and enhance financial liquidity for companies, in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to ensure business continuity and reduce the economic impact of COVID-19.

Free zone businesses have been offered deferred rentals for up to six months, easy installment facility on payments, refund of security deposits and guarantees, cancellation of fines, and permission for temporary job contracts that allow free movement of labour within the free zones for the rest of the year as part of the stimulus measures.

Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of Dubai FDI, said the free zones in Dubai are integral to reviving global trade movement and ensuring that the stimulus packages announced by the UAE following the pandemic achieve their desired goals.

“Free zones are a critical component of the ease of business and openness that attracts capital and talent into Dubai and strengthens the credentials of the city as an innovation hub and gateway. Dubai FDI works closely with each of the free zones in the emirate to attract related investments, promote their strategic offerings to raise awareness of these enabling ecosystems among investors globally, and also develop networking opportunities,” said Al Gergawi.

Mohammed Shael Al Saadi, CEO Corporate Strategic Affairs in Dubai Economy, addressed the webinar and said:  “I am honoured to participate in this webinar with our colleagues from the free zones to share updates on Dubai Economy’s response to COVID 19 and our re-opening efforts to our listeners, mainly the private sector businesses that make up the ‘real economy.’  Such public-private sector dialogues are essential to engaging both sides to understand their needs; listening to business community feedback, and to communicate government’s policies and initiatives.  The COVID-19 pandemic has again stressed that the close relationship between the public and private sectors is essential to overcoming the crisis together. This will sustain our business community engagement strategy and communication through ENGAGE DXB, which is a platform to serve the interests of the Dubai business community.”

Free zones in Dubai attracted 101 greenfield FDI projects in 2019, according to the fDi Markets intelligence of the Financial Times. Free zones contribute to one-third of Dubai’s GDP and together, they host 44,985 companies with nearly 389,336 employees.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, DMCC, said: “As a hub for global trade, we are committed to ensuring that Dubai remains the chosen destination to do business in the region. But most importantly, at DMCC, we believe that our members success is our success. It is our social and economic responsibility to support them in every way possible and through every step of the way. We are confident that by working together, we will emerge stronger and overcome this challenging period while maintaining a robust economy.”

Following the global outbreak of COVID-19, the UAE launched an AED 282.5 billion (US $76.9 billion) stimulus package to help offset the impact. The Government of Dubai also launched an AED 1.5 billion package.

“Our stimulus packages are a translation of Dubai’s leadership vision to maintain the culture of ease of doing business and support investors and the business community to strive before others. The challenge is global and the only way forward is to adapt and be prepared.” said Tahnoon Saif, CEO of Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub, Dubai South.