Following the directions of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, and follow-up from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah, Chairman of the Executive Council, the Government of Ras Al Khaimah has announced the launch of a comprehensive integrated stimulus and incentive package. Introduced in line with the ongoing efforts announced by the UAE aimed at easing the financial burden in the Emirate during the ongoing Covid-19 situation, the package forms part of Ras Al Khaimah’s continuous efforts to help private-sector companies face the challenges presented by the current coronavirus pandemic and to ensure continuity of business in all sectors.
Covering every sector involved in economic activities, including tourism, government services, environment and SMEs, the package was developed in cooperation with all concerned entities, with each entity creating the measurements that suit the nature of the companies they deal with. This ensures that all companies and organizations benefit from the incentives, especially SMEs, which make up the largest number of companies operating in Ras Al Khaimah and which are the most affected by the current situation.
The package of initiatives highlights the coordinated approach taken by local government entities and free zones in Ras Al Khaimah to alleviate hardship, 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 bodies have agreed on three levels of support: payment exemptions, postponement of fees and the provision of consultancy and assistance. One of the most notable incentives introduced by RAK government agencies is a 25% exemption on fees for renewing commercial licenses that were closed as per circulars issued by government agencies, as well as for any sectors affected by the crisis, provided they meet 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. 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,” said H.E. Dr. Mohamed Abdullatif Khalifa, Secretary General of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.
Extending business license renewal period for 60 days
The measures taken by the Department of Economic Development in Ras Al Khaimah include extending the license renewal period for 60 days from the date of expiry. In addition, business establishments will be allowed to operate around the clock for three months and be exempt from marketing permit fees for two months during this year, in case the current situation ends. Hotels, resorts and all tourism activities will also be exempt from commercial registration during the closing period.
Business tenants exempt from rental fees for 3 months and health card fees reduced
Ras Al Khaimah Municipality Department has exempted tenants in markets (owned by the Municipality) from rental fees for three months, including barbershops, beauty salons and shops in Nakheel market. It has also exempted 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 waived permit fees for outdoor area occupancy for roads and public facilities and reduced fees for issuing health insurance cards.
Planting trees instead of paying fines and fee reductions up to 50%
As part of the stimulus package, the Environment Protection and Development Authority in Ras Al Khaimah has launched an unprecedented initiative reflecting its ecological mandate and desire to establish a culture of environmental focus in the Emirate. The initiative includes replacing the payment of fines for environmental violations incurred before March 31 this year with the 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. In addition, fees incurred by industrial establishments that pay less than AED 50,000 annually will be reduced by 25% for the period April 1 to December 31, while annual fees from industrial establishments that pay more than AED 50,000 annually to the authority (such as crushers and cement factories) for April 1 to December 31, 2020 will be deferred for a period of one year.
50% discount on Hemaya fines
The General Resources Authority (GRA) has announced the exemption of the fees on commercial vehicles (for investors) until October 1, 2020. Additionally, the GRA is availing a 50% discount of ‘Hemaya’ fines against different establishments and service providers until October 1, 2020, provided that the violations occurred prior to this announcement. It has also offered small businesses, such as grocers, to place 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 contribute in marketing for their services.
Support for 15,000 companies and 25% discount on new residence visas for family members
Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) has launched a package of customizable incentives, aimed at supporting more than 15,000 companies operating under its umbrella. These incentives include a three-month exemption from renewing commercial licenses, flexible options for payment of fees, such as installment plans; a 50% discount on the cost of licenses; full exemption from the amount of insurance on new residency visa applications; a 25% discount on new residency visas for family members of people employed by RAKEZ companies; full exemption from renewal delay fines; full exemption from cheque postponement fees; full exemption from package downgrade fees; full exemption from changing activity fees; a 25% discount on new workers’ housing applications; and complete exemption from entrance fees to centers affiliated with RAKEZ.
Motivational and steering committees
The initiatives launched by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority include the establishment of an Incentive Committee and an Internal Steering Committee for the Emirate. Other initiatives supporting the tourism sector include a six-month exemption 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 partners in the hospitality sector will be able to participate in a variety of exhibitions and promotional tours that will be launched in 2020 and 2021, with all fees waived.
Exemptions including support for local businesses and citizen entrepreneurs
Ras Al Khaimah Chamber of Commerce and Industry is continuing its role of supporting the local business community and enhancing its contribution to sustainable development by approving a set of steps to assist commercial organizations operating in the Emirate. These include 100% exemption from delay fines due on memberships ending on June 30, 2020. In an initiative to support citizen entrepreneurs who benefit from the business incubators program, the Chamber decided to exempt them from rental fees due for the period from April to December 2020.
Exemptions for exhibitions
In order to restore activity to the exhibition sector, Ras Al Khaimah Chamber of Commerce and Industry introduced a 50% exemption on foreign exhibition permits until the end of 2020 and a 25% exemption on consumer and specialized exhibitions held at Ras Al Khaimah Exhibition Center until the end of 2020.
Each of these stimulus incentives from across a variety of sectors are aligned with the strategy of Ras Al Khaimah Government to enhance the attractiveness of the Emirate’s business sector. The authorities involved are keen to highlight the competitive advantages of Ras Al Khaimah, which cater to all forms of economic activity and which enhance the Emirate’s position as an attractive destination for investment, lifestyle and tourism.