6,464 licences auto renewed in January 2021, says Dubai Economy
Reduces customers’ journey from 7 steps to one step only; Send licence number via SMS to 6969 without any visits and zero paperwork
Dubai has initiated another move to ease doing of business by reducing customers’ journey from seven steps to one step only for renewal of licences in the emirate.
A report by the Business Registration and Licensing (BRL) sector of Dubai Economy showed that 6,464 licences were auto renewed during January 2021. Among the auto renewed licences issued, 77 per cent were commercial, 21 per cent professional, and the rest among tourism and industrial activities.
According to the main areas, Deira accounted for the largest share (3,417) of auto renewed licences followed by Bur Dubai (3028), and Hatta (19). The top sub-regions were: Burj Khalifa, Naif, Port Saeed, Al Marar, Trade Centre 1, Al Garhoud, Al Khabaisi, Rigga Al Buteen, Eyal Nasser and Hor Al Anz East.
In terms of legal forms of the auto renewed licences issued in January 2021, Limited Liability companies accounted for 67 per cent of the total, followed by Sole Establishments at 21 per cent and Civil Works companies at seven per cent. The rest of the legal forms included; One-Person Limited Liability Companies; Branches of companies based in other Emirates; Branches of Free Zone Companies; Branches of Foreign Companies; Branches of Gulf Companies; General Partnership; Public Shareholding Companies; Private Joint-Stock Companies, and Government Liaison Office.
The figures underline the positive impact of the economic stimulus package launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, which allows commercial licences to be renewed without lease contracts.
The Auto Renewal service, which is shortlisted for the Flag of Hamdan bin Mohammed Program for Government Services 2020, reflects Dubai government’s ambition to go completely paper-free by 2021. The service has added tremendous value to businesses as the completion of transactions and payment of required amounts do not require any paperwork. It reflects the emirate’s constant efforts to provide a supportive environment and infrastructure for local and international businesses.
The Auto Renewal service further scales up BRL sector service standards, particularly in improving customer satisfaction, saving time and facilitating the process of business registration effortlessly. Previously, the customer’s journey to renew a licence included four visits and seven steps, and now, business owners can auto renew the business licence in one step by sending a text message with the trade licence number to be renewed to 6969.
Dubai Economy offers a number of payment channels for transactions related to auto renewals, such as online through Smart Dubai Payment Gateway; Aafaq; DED Business App; Commercial Bank of Dubai (customers) and Dubai Islamic Bank (customers). Customers can also pay fees through Aafaq via Bank Transfer or Deposit using Dubai Islamic Bank ATMs. Cash payment through Commercial Bank of Dubai or Emirates Islamic (branches/ATMs) is also an option.
No external approvals are needed to complete the auto renewal except for four commercial activities — transportation by public taxi, transportation by limousine, rent-a-car, and non-emergency transportation services — which require the approval of the Roads & Transport Authority, in addition to two others — inbound and outbound tours – related to the Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing.
Business owners must update their personal data for the BRL sector team to provide services more effectively.
DMCC records 5-year high new company registrations
Creates new record for Dubai business hub in the past five years.
DMCC, a leading free zone hub for commodities trade, said on Monday that it recorded the highest number of new company registrations in five years in 2020 despite the impact of the pandemic.
The free zone said the retention rate also remained at an all-time high, primarily due to the “business support package” launched in March 2020 that positively impacted companies in 149 countries. More than 8,000 member companies availed over 13,000 offers and incentives throughout the year, DMCC said in a statement.
Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman and CEO, DMCC, said despite the difficult context, the free zone continued to attract, facilitate and promote global trade flows to and through Dubai. “We surpassed 18,000 member companies, broke company registration records, while launching new initiatives and progressing on time with flagship projects. Building on this momentum, we will maximise the progress made to reach new heights in 2021.”
In 2020, rough diamonds worth Dh91.8 billion were traded through the Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE), the world’s largest diamond tender facility in the zone. The zone’s Coffee Centre recorded seven million kilos of coffee while its Tea Centre saw the transaction of 40,000 metric tonnes of tea.
DMCC was also instrumental in drawing foreign direct investment to Dubai by marking a 20 per cent year-on-year increase in Chinese companies joining the DMCC. A China Service Centre opened its doors in Almas Tower with Mandarin onboarding support while a representative office in Shenzhen was inaugurated all with the aim of promoting the ease of doing business through the business hub.
Following an MOU with the Israel Diamond Exchange, DMCC inaugurated its representative office in Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv, Israel in 2020. The new office is supporting Israeli businesses, from all industries and sectors, to set up an office in DMCC, it said.
Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX), a derivatives exchange and a subsidiary of DMCC, traded 12.73 million contracts valued at Dh1.177 trillion while the DMCC Tradeflow platform recorded transactions valued at Dh744 billion, an increase of 121 per cent year-on-year. The transaction value of Islamic products rose by 128 per cent year-on-year.
UAE most competitive market in GCC; 4th globally
The UAE also topped all three individual sub-indices in the region
The UAE ranks number one overall as the most competitive emerging market in GCC, according to the annual Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index.
The UAE also topped all three individual sub-indices in the region. “This reflects the UAE’s commitment to strengthening its business environment in the non-oil sectors and successful implementation of the comprehensive national SME development strategy,” Agility Global Integrated Logistics (GIL) said.
In the area of business fundamentals, Gulf countries dominated the top spots. The UAE was No. 1, followed by Saudi Arabia (3), Qatar (4), Bahrain (7), Oman (8) and Kuwait (11). Nearby Jordan was 10th. China, India and Indonesia rank highest for domestic logistics; China, India and Mexico are at the top for international logistics.
“Gulf countries are pushing hard to diversify and integrate their economies by developing world-class infrastructure and creating fair, transparent conditions for business,” said Elias Monem, GIL CEO for Middle East & Africa.
“Good infrastructure and stable business conditions are areas of huge competitive advantage for the Gulf region. They will be key to recovering from the economic downturn brought on by the pandemic,” he said.
The Index, now in its 12th year, ranks 50 countries by factors that make them attractive to logistics providers, freight forwarders, shipping lines, air cargo carriers and distributors.
China, India and Indonesia topped the index, while three Gulf countries made the top 10: UAE (4), Saudi Arabia (6) and Qatar (9).
“Logistics is one of the key economic driver for the UAE and because of its strategic location and excellent infrastructure, I expect UAE to be the Logistics hub,” Saad Maniar, senior partner at Crowe UAE.
Sachin Gupta, general manager of Gulf Pinnacle Investments (GPI), the UAE subsidiary of Gulf Pinnacle Logistics, said the UAE has developed an excellent infrastructure for logistics industry, which is being expanded continuously.
“World class infrastructure added to its proximity to the world makes UAE an attractive logistics hub. The government’s initiatives such as World Logistics Passport, conducive economic policies, ease of doing business and stable business environment have successfully attracted global brands and the UAE will continue to be among the top logistics hubs of the world,” Gupta said.
An interesting finding of the survey is that even when manufacturers consider easing dependence on China, few companies plan to bring per cent of industry executives surveyed say relocating production from China would mean reshoring to their home countries. Vietnam (19.6 per cent), India (17.4 per cent) and Indonesia (12.4 per cent) are the leading choices for relocation, followed by Thailand (10.3 per cent) and Malaysia (9.6 per cent), according to those surveyed.
While total cost is driving overall shifts in production supply chains, today low-cost labor is barely a consideration for emerging markets investment — with only 2.2 per cent of industry executive’s saying it’s important. Executives say the most important factors are government bureaucracy and regulation (25.8 per cent); infrastructure quality (14.1 per cent); and supply of skilled labor (8.0 per cent). As companies examine new production locations, they say their biggest concerns are inadequate infrastructure (14.5 per cent) and additional cost (13.5 per cent).
The regional Gulf economy could get a boost as a result of the diplomatic breakthrough that ended Saudi Arabia’s three-year economic blockade of neighboring Qatar in late 2020. That could lead to tighter integration in a region where cross-border trade, trucking and e-commerce are growing dramatically.
The countries improving their domestic logistics strengths the most are Malaysia, Nigeria, Vietnam, Iran, Uruguay, Myanmar and Cambodia. The biggest strides in international logistics came from Morocco, Ukraine, Kenya, Myanmar and Paraguay.
Along with the Index, Agility surveyed more than 1,200 supply chain professionals for their views on the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Of the executives surveyed, 44.7 per cent see a Middle East/North Africa recovery in 2021; 38.9 per cent say a recovery for the region won’t take place until 2022-2024. A majority expect Asia, North America and Europe to rebound this year.
Strict adherence to ESR requirements necessary, experts say
Companies across the UAE need to be up to date and comply with the UAE’s economic substance regulations (ESR) unless they want to incur heavy fines for their failure to comply, experts have said.
In a recent webinar organised by the Dubai Chamber, in collaboration with Al Tamimi & Company, experts highlighted the latest developments and provided guidance with respect to the economic substance regime and compliance requirements. The webinar, titled ‘Key Aspects of Economic Substance Regulations’, noted that the UAE has issued the Economic Substance Regulations in April 2019 and followed them with an updated guidance on relevant activities by the Ministry of Finance to help businesses to demonstrate economic presence in the UAE.
The UAE adopted new economic substance regulations in Cabinet Resolution No. 31 of 2019. These regulations provide that a company engaged in one of a number of specified sectors must have sufficient economic substance in the territory to access the territory’s tax regime. The changes were in response to pressure from the EU on a number of territories, following recommendations from its EU Code of Conduct Group, and apply for financial years starting on or after January 1, 2019. The key activities identified by the European Commission Code of Conduct Group are: banking, insurance, fund management, financing and leasing, shipping, intellectual property, collective investment vehicles, and holding companies that generate income from any of these key activities.
Shiraz Khan, head of Taxation at Al Tamimi & Company, said that tax is a key revenue generation for many countries that don’t have an abundance of natural resources. “These countries generally rely on taxes to fund their public expenditure.”
One of the biggest concerns during the 2008 downturn, he said, revolved around tax evasion. “Many international companies around the world, with the advent of globalisation, were essentially operating in multiple countries and moving money from high tax jurisdictions into low tax jurisdictions and therefore paying less tax as a result.”
The UAE Ministry of Finance (MoF) in August 2020 announced the details of the Cabinet Resolution No. (57) of 2020 concerning Economic Substance Regulations. The Resolution was issued in consultation with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Union Code of Conduct Group, in order to direct companies that engage in one or more relevant activities. The resolution amended and repealed the Cabinet of Ministers Resolution No. (31) of 2019 concerning Economic Substance. Under the resolution, the UAE Federal Tax Authority (FTA) was appointed as the National Assessing Authority for the purposes of the UAE Economic Substance Regulations.
According to the resolution, the definition of a Licensee was amended to be limited to juridical persons and unincorporated partnerships that are registered (whether by way of commercial/trade license or other form of permit) to carry out a Relevant Activity. Natural persons, sole proprietorships and other business forms that are not juridical entities are no longer within the scope of the UAE economic substance regulations.
Noff Al-Khafaji, senior associate, Corporate Structuring at Al Tamimi & Company, noted that the UAE Ministry of Finance, in May 2020, issued a Covid-19 advisory extending the notification filing deadline and consideration of the impact of the pandemic on businesses. In January 2021, the MoF announced that the December 31, 2020 filing deadline for ESR notification and report (if applicable) was extended to January 31, 2020. Failure to provide notification and any relevant information or documentation will result in a Dh20,000 fine, she said. Also, providing inaccurate information will result in a Dh50,000 fine. Failure to submit an ES report can result in a fine of Dh50,000 in the first year, and a fine of Dh400,000 in the second consecutive year of failure.