Dubai consolidates commercial laws to bolster investment
A new law regulating economic activity in Dubai was issued yesterday by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The 37 articles of Law No 13 of 2011 aim to regulate “economic activities in the emirate to create an environment conducive to boosting investment in Dubai”, according to a statement on Shaikh Mohammad’s official website.
The Department of Economic Development (DED) will be the body responsible for the regulation of economic activity for all businesses outside the freezones, according to the law. The DED’s responsibilities will include licensing, classification of economic activity permitted within Dubai, issuing trade permits for marketing activities and setting business work hours.
The law will establish a single portal through which various government bodies can co-ordinate the regulation of economic activity in Dubai. Under Article 20 of the new law, a single-window facility will be established for issuing licences to businesses and deal with investors. “What’s new in the law is the single window that makes it easier to finish the processes for investors. The new facilities will help [attract] new investors to Dubai,” said Dr Mohammad Al Asoomi, a Dubai-based economist.
“In countries where this single-window system is established, it had a major impact on facilitating procedures for investors. It will attract investors and stimulate economic growth in the emirate,” Dr Al Asoomi said.
The new law aims to enhance co-ordination between the relevant authorities in Dubai to “facilitate business interests”, according to Shaikh Mohammad’s website. The new law also seeks to develop the economic environment by making use of accurate and transparent information obtained using the latest technology, according to WAM. “Such a move is intended to allow businesses to benefit from the latest technological systems when drafting marketing plans, while publicising investment opportunities in the emirate,” according to the website.
Parameters for licences
The law has also set parameters for issuing licenses. The DED is the only body responsible for issuing licences. No one is allowed to participate in economic activities in Dubai except through a business licensed by the department.
According to Article 8 of the law, the licence will be be valid for only one year and is renewable on an annual basis. Any business may request a licence for up to four years with the DED’s approval. Article 13 stipulates that a business owner has the right to request the suspension of a licence to temporarily halt its activities.
The law also states that no one is allowed to practice economic activities except through a business that takes certain legal forms. These include a single proprietary firm, a civil work company, or a trading company. A national or a branch of a foreign firm can operate in Dubai as well as a branch of a freezone company. Anyone caught violating the provisions of the law can be fined up to Dh100,000.