The Government of Ras Al Khaimah has declared the launch of an extensive integrated stimulus and incentive package to boost the Emirate’s economy.
Proposed in line with the continuous endeavors published by the UAE directed at reducing the financial difficulty in the Emirate during the COVID-19 circumstances, the package forms part of Ras Al Khaimah’s constant attempts to encourage private-sector companies to face the difficulties introduced by the coronavirus pandemic.
Reaching every division involved in economic activities, including tourism, government services, environment and SMEs, the package was generated in collaboration with all concerned bodies, with each entity devising the measures that accommodate the nature of the businesses they deal with. This guarantees that all companies and organizations profit from the incentives, especially SMEs, which make up the highest number of companies operating in Ras Al Khaimah and which are the most influenced by the current condition.
The package of initiatives highlights the coordinated strategy taken by local government bodies and free zones in Ras Al Khaimah to relieve difficulty, including the Municipality Department, Department of Economic Development, Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ), Ras Al Khaimah Chamber of Commerce, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, the Environment Protection and Development Authority and the General Resources Authority in Ras Al Khaimah.
All the organizations have accepted on three levels of support: payment exclusions, suspension of fees and the provision of consultancy and support. One of the most important incentives offered by RAK government agencies is a 25 percent exemption on fees for renewing commercial licenses that were closed as per circulars distributed by government agencies, as well as for any divisions influenced by the crisis, given they satisfy the terms and conditions set by the Department of Economic Development in Ras Al Khaimah.
“We are eager to implement the directions of the prudent leadership, which aims to ensure ongoing support to companies operating across Ras Al Khaimah. This stimulus package forms part of our commitment to enhancing partnership between the public and private sectors, which is a central pillar in empowering and developing our national economy in the United Arab Emirates and in Ras Al Khaimah.”
Increasing business license renewal period
The measures taken by the Department of Economic Development in Ras Al Khaimah involve increasing the license renewal period for 60 days from the date of expiry. In addition, firms will be permitted to run around the clock for three months and be excluded from marketing permit fees for two months during this year, in case the prevailing circumstances end. Hotels, resorts and all tourism activities will also be excluded from commercial registration during the closing period.
Rent exemptions; decreased health card fees
Ras Al Khaimah Municipality Department has spared tenants in market places (owned by the Municipality) from rental fees for three months, including barbershops, beauty salons and shops in Nakheel market. It has also excused advertising companies from rental fees for three months and companies from the monthly installment fees of municipal rental documentation for the commercial sector for one year from the license renewal date. It has also suspended permit fees for outdoor area occupancy for roads and public facilities and decreased fees for allotting health insurance cards.
50 percent reduction on Hemaya fines
The General Resources Authority (GRA) has advertised the exclusion of the fees on commercial vehicles (for investors) until October 1, 2020. Additionally, the GRA is availing a 50 percent discount of ‘Hemaya’ fines against various enterprises and service providers until October 1, 2020, given that the breaches occurred prior to this disclosure. It has also allowed small businesses, such as grocers, to put their ads on its website free of charge. The CCTV service providers use this website to renew or issue their licenses, and such a proposition will add to marketing for their services.
Assistance for 15,000 companies and 25 percent reduction on new residence visas
Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) has started a package of customizable incentives, directed at helping more than 15,000 companies working under its umbrella. These incentives cover a three-month exclusion from renewing commercial licenses, adaptable options for payment of fees, such as installment plans; a 50 percent reduction on the cost of licenses; full exclusion from the cost of insurance on new residency visa applications; a 25% rebate on new residency visas for family members of people employed by RAKEZ companies; full exclusion from renewal deferment fines; full exemption from cheque postponement fees; full exemption from package downgrade fees; full exemption from changing activity fees; a 25 percent reduction on new workers’ housing applications; and complete exemption from entrance fees to centers affiliated with RAKEZ.
The initiatives started by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority involve the establishment of an Incentive Committee and an Internal Steering Committee for the Emirate. Other initiatives strengthening the tourism sector comprise a six-month exclusion from tourist license fees and exemption from the ‘tourism dirham’ fee from March to May 2020; full exemption from tourism licensing fees for the second and third quarters of 2020 and from tourism licensing fines until September 30, 2020. 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. In addition, the authority’s associates in the hospitality sector will be able to engage in a variety of exhibitions and promotional tours that will be launched in 2020 and 2021, with all fees deferred.
Assistance for local businesses and citizens
Ras Al Khaimah Chamber of Commerce and Industry is proceeding its role of helping the local business community and improving its participation in sustainable development by approving a set of steps to help commercial organizations operating in the Emirate. These carry 100 percent exemption from delay fines due on memberships ending on June 30, 2020. In an initiative to support citizen entrepreneurs who profit from the business incubators program, the Chamber chose to spare them from rental fees due for the period from April to December 2020.
Exemptions for exhibition
In order to reconstruct movement to the exhibition sector, Ras Al Khaimah Chamber of Commerce and Industry began a 50% exclusion on foreign exhibition permits until the end of 2020 and a 25 percent exemption on consumer and specialized exhibitions held at Ras Al Khaimah Exhibition Center until the end of 2020.