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Dubai Computer Group Responds to its Members’ Critical Concerns Regarding the Impact of COVID-19

Dubai Computer Group (DCG) has announced that it is working closely with its members and key stakeholders to safeguard the business interest of its members against any detrimental impact faced due to the global lockdown post the outbreak of COVID-19. DCG has thus formed a “COVID-19 RESPONSE TEAM” which is represented by Dharmendra Sawlani, Ashish Panjabi and Suchit Kumar. The response team has been formed to address the concerns and action plans to support the DCG members.

Speaking to the press, through a virtual conference, Dharmendra Sawlani, the President of DCG who is also the owner of Smile Computers LLC, said, “Sales channels have changed since restrictions on movement in the UAE came into place. Many of our members have had to improve their online presence and work more closely with the various e-commerce channels. This has meant adapting their logistical capabilities and finding innovative ways to continue serving corporate clients.”

Ashish Panjabi, the Chief Operating Officer of Jacky’s Retail and Board Member of DCG

Ashish Panjabi, the Chief Operating Officer of Jacky’s Retail and Board Member of DCG, said, the month of March saw a sudden surge in the demand for computers and other ICT products as e-learning and work-from-home practices were adopted at a short notice. “Many of our members reported stronger sales during that period as virtually everyone has undergone a major largest digital transformation in the last few weeks,” he added.

Sawlani further added, “The pressure on SMEs has been immense because cash flow cycles have slowed down. As DCG, we’ve been trying to support our members where we can, be it in providing trainings for better managing finances, banking relationships, HR aspects or VAT. We’ve engaged with major IT distributors to listen to their concerns and highlight areas where we can arrive at a mutual understanding to ensure business continuity. We’ve also written to over 150 landlords to seek some sort of reprieve for our members during this period. At the end of the day, we realise, we are all in this together.”

Ashok Kumar, the CEO of New Trend Computer Networks LLC

DCG has been closely working with Dubai Chamber to highlight the concern of the industry and seek support. Commenting on the government level initiatives Ashish Panjabi, explained, “The support of the government bodies has been extraordinary. We’ve engaged closely with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and they have helped us co-ordinate with other government departments where necessary or find us resolutions to challenges we faced. It encourages us to know that we can reach out to them any time of day or week.”

Suchit Kumar, the Vice President of DCG said, “DCG has been closely monitoring and assessing the impact on the IT business, post the lockdown and closure of borders due to the pandemic. DCG will remain committed to doing its utmost to support members during this rapidly evolving situation. All our webinars have been well appreciated by the members with full participation.”

DCG’s COVID-19 Initiatives
The key activities for effectiveness conducted by DCG were:

Emergency Board and General Meeting with members
DCG organised an emergency board meeting for the discussion of plausible solutions and actualised the same with a Virtual General Meet with members understanding the various areas of concerns and the support desired. DCG assured its members of its relentless commitment to support and stand by with solidarity during the entire period of crisis with resolute measures.

Letter to the Landlords of Member Companies for Rental Reduction, Deferral and Rent Holiday
A letter was issued to the landlords with a CC copy marked to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry of over 150 companies seeking support on rental reduction, a rent holiday and even deferrals. There has been a positive response and some of the members have already been granted their desired benefit.

Ongoing Discussions with Dubai Chamber and DED
DCG has been having regular discussions with Dubai Chamber and where needed DED’s support was sought on various points that concern our industry. We have highlighted cash flow concerns and to check on the possibility of a deferment of VAT payments. The issue of banking has also been raised and our concerns have been presented. The lack of access to shops or retail premises for retrieval of stocks for e-commerce deliveries was also highlighted and support is being sought to aid in this matter, however, this is also subject to approval from the NECMS who have the final authority.

Coronavirus Business Continuity Meeting (DCG ~ Distributor)
DCG organised a meeting with major IT distributors. The virtual meet was attended by Asbis Middle East, Trigon Gulf, Ingram Micro, Logicom, and FDC. DCG requested the distributors for their continued support and to keep discussions active for achieving a workable middle ground during these times when members’ cash flow is under pressure.

Decoding Business in the Time of COVID-19
DCG conducted a Webinar for its members on the above subject with the CEO of UHY James, James Mathew as a speaker, to provide an in-depth understanding of the UAE business community’s challenges in the light of Covid 19. It highlighted aspects that every business owner needs to engage and embrace in theory and practicality to move forward. There were some key takeaways shared by James on how to better manage finances during these trying times.

Banking Now and Beyond the Lockdown
DCG conducted a Webinar on the above subject by Vikram Venkatraman – Managing Director of VIANTA ADVISORS and an expert on banking. The objective was to help members understand the requirements of the banks.

Skill Development and Training Webinar
In this crucial time, DCG engaged the services of Orange Zebras to conduct workshops on the below subjects for Business Excellence:

  1. Perception Management – Workshop Webinar by Dr. Ameya Ghanekar
  2. Online Selling Techniques – Workshop Webinar by Dr. Ameya Ghanekar
  3. Financial Acumen / Strategies – Workshop Webinar by Shridha Sampath

Changes in the UAE Labour Law in the Time of Covid-19
DCG has engaged the help of Bianca Gracias, co-founder of Suits & Advisors who has 16 years of experience in the legal sector in UAE. She will apprise the DCG members of the new regulations and clarifications made to the labour law by MOHRE. This webinar is scheduled for 19th April 2020.

Coping with VAT During and After COVID-19
DCG will host a panel discussion with reputed Tax (VAT) experts to help members understand implications of VAT in this Covid era and after. Confirmed panellists for the Webinar are Steve Kitching from Grant Thornton, Pankaj Jain from AskPankaj, Amarendra Mohanty from UHY James and Sagar Mistry from HKMS Group

Virtual Social Networking Event
DCG has planned an e-social night for all of its members scheduled for the 20th of April with the objective to help them get a respite from the current lockdown with a 90 min soiree.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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