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Economic Relief Measures for the UAE during COVID-19

The UAE government has introduced certain measures that will offer economic relief to UAE businesses suffering under the strain of COVID-19 ramifications.

Although the UAE has not announced any direct relief from tax payment obligations similar to those introduced in KSA, the governments of both the Emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi have introduced financial assistance measures due to the current COVID-19 crisis.

The Emirate of Dubai

In the Emirate of Dubai, the government has introduced the following measures:

  • An AED1,5 billion business stimulation package involving the reduction in fees payable by businesses for three months
  • Dubai Customs introduced the following measures which will be in place from 15 March 2020 till 30 June 2020
  • A refund of 20% of all Customs Duty paid on goods at 5% which have been sold locally
  • The revokation of the AED50,000 cash or bank guarantees required to conduct customs broker activities and the refund of existing guarantees held to these brokers and clearing companies
  • The exemption from berthing fees as well as direct and indirect loading fees for boats that qualify as traditional wooden commercial boats registered in the UAE at either Dubai Creek or Hamriyah Port

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi

In the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the government has introduced:

  • With effect from 16 March 2020, a 16 point stimulus plan involving fee exemptions, fine waivers, SME support initiatives
  • An AED 5 billion water and electricity subsidy scheme
  • An AED 3 billion SME credit guarantee programme
  • The establishment of a AED 1 billion market maker fund to sustain a balanced supply and demand balance for stocks
  • The suspension of performance bonds for bidding procedures
  • A 25% reduction on new industrial land leasing fees
  • The waiver of industrial and commercial penalties
  • Cancellation of individual and commercial real estate registration fees
  • The payment of government approved invoices within 15 days
  • The suspension of Tourism and Municipality Fees for the tourism and entertainment sectors for 2020
  • Waiver of performance guarantees for start-ups for projects up till AED 50 million

In addition to the government’s measures the private sector has also stepped up to the plate and numerous of the large property leasing companies have offered reduced and even exemptions from rental payments for commercial tenants that have had to shut down their businesses due to COVID-19. Various banks, property developers and even utility suppliers have also offered payment holidays and have deferred evictions and legal collections in the light of the current situation in the UAE relating to COVID-19.

Should you be experiencing financial pressures and would like to take advantage of any of the above measures, BSA is ready and eager to assist.

HFW boosts fast-growing transactional offering

Global, sector-focused law firm HFW has continued to expand its fast-growing transactional offering with the hire of senior corporate finance partner Wing Cheung.

Wing specialises in capital markets, including initial public offerings, as well as M&A, private equity and other transactional work. He joins HFW’s Hong Kong office from US law firm Locke Lord, where he was Hong Kong Managing Partner.

Wing’s arrival continues HFW’s significant expansion of its global corporate and finance practices. HFW launched a transactional practice in China earlier this year and has now added 19 transactional partners across its international network since 2018, including lateral hires in Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Monaco, Paris and Singapore.

Patrick Yeung, Hong Kong Office Head, HFW:

“This is a major boost to our transactional offering in Greater China and the wider region. Wing brings a wealth of experience of high-end corporate finance, and has an outstanding reputation for his technical expertise and exceptional client service. I am thrilled to welcome him to the firm.”

Wing advises clients on a wide range of corporate and commercial matters, including initial public offerings and M&A. He also has significant experience in regulatory enforcement and compliance, having acted on major investigations and other proceedings by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.

Wing Cheung, Partner, HFW:

“I am very excited to be joining HFW. It’s been really noticeable over the past few years that HFW is building a strong global corporate and finance practice to complement its leading reputation for disputes and sector-related work. I’m looking forward to helping the firm continue that growth, and working with the HFW transactional teams in Greater China and across the firm’s extensive international network.”

HFW has operated in Greater China for more than 40 years, having been one of the first international law firms to open an office in the country, in 1978.

The firm now has almost 80 lawyers in Greater China, including 21 partners, and is a market leader in aviation, commodities, construction, energy, insurance, shipping, commercial litigation and corporate.

HFW also recently brought in a market-leading team to launch in Monaco – one of 11 international office openings, mergers and associations since 2016, including a fully-integrated US merger and other moves in Brazil, China, Indonesia and the Middle East.

About HFW

HFW is a leading global law firm in the aerospace, commodities, construction, energy, insurance, and shipping sectors. The firm has more than 600 lawyers, including 185 partners, based in offices across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. HFW prides itself on its deep industry expertise and its entrepreneurial, creative and collaborative culture.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://www.hfw.com/

Legal challenges for a growing defence market

The IDEX conference just concluded last week in Abu Dhabi demonstrated the intertwining nature of the threats that the world currently faces in dealing with malevolent actors, as well as the resilient manner in which government and industry have developed countermeasures to deal with this ever-increasing threat spectrum.

The UAE is at the forefront of adopting 4IR technology for the public benefit. Given this adoption, the UAE government has enacted a legal framework to regulate the use of cyber-technology and related forward-looking innovations. However, as is the case with almost all emerging technologies, legislation and regulatory guidance often plays catch up with the technology, and there are gaps that need to be cured as the technology advances.

There are numerous UAE laws and regulations covering various aspects of 4IR technology, including Federal Law No. 5 of 2012 covering cyber-crimes, and the newly enacted Federal Law No. 25 of 2018 dealing with futuristic projects, which seeks to regulate development of AI. However, the latter has yet to be fully implemented through its enabling regulation, leading to some marketplace uncertainty.

Likewise, the various free zone authorities, particularly the DIFC and ADGM, have separate regulatory schemes covering such technology. Thus, stakeholders need to be aware of the legal landscape in which this technology is currently being developed and deployed.

This terrain creates opportunities for both large corporations and SMEs alike to develop and deploy innovative solutions to defend against malevolent actors, including threats posed by terrorism and cyber-criminals, as well as the inevitable byproduct of non-malicious technological failures inherent in all emerging technologies.

For more information about BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP, please visit https://bsabh.com/

Law Firm becomes Official Supporter of 2019 Special Olympics

We are proud to announce our signing of a partnership agreement that will see Hadef and Partners support the Special Olympics World Games as the official legal supporter and provide legal advisory services through the build-up to, during and after the World Games.

The Games, which will take place for the first time in the Middle East, will run across the Emirate in venues within both Abu Dhabi and Dubai from the 14-21 March 2019. The event will be under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and will be the largest sports and humanitarian event this year.

Hadef & Partners will provide legal support from their offices in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai and will call upon the full service experience of almost 100 lawyers from the UAE, Middle East and the international arena.

Commenting on the signing, Dr Faraj Ahnish, Managing Partner of Hadef & Partners Abu Dhabi said:

“We are extremely proud of our history, heritage and reputation as a dedicated UAE law firm and when we saw the opportunity to become involved, we did not hesitate. These Games will be the largest of their kind to date in our region and provides a unique opportunity to create and deliver awareness and change for People of Determination in the UAE and to showcase our wonderful people, cities and culture at the same time. We are delighted to be involved in this momentous event and offer our support to ensure a memorable Games.”

Hamad Al Zaabi, Senior Director of Business Support at Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, said:

“We are very grateful to have Hadef & Partners on board with us as the official legal supporter of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.”

“With this partnership, Hadef & Partners will provide required support and legal consultation to Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019. The team’s expertise will help us ensure a long-lasting legacy for People of Determination.”

For more information on the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, please visit https://www.abudhabi2019.org/.

Hadef & Partners opens new Notary Public Service

Hadef & Partners is proud to be the first Private Notaries to be authorised by the Abu Dhabi Judiciary Department to provide Notary Public Services in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Previously, notary services could only be provided by designated government officials within Abu Dhabi.

This expanded service is an initiative by the Government to privatise certain services for the added convenience of businesses and residents in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Commenting on the appointment, Managing Partner Dr Faraj Ahnish said:

“We are extremely proud to have been granted authorisation by the Abu Dhabi Judiciary Department and delighted to have been appointed as the first Private Notary Public officials to provide these services in Abu Dhabi. We have been a key part in the fabric of the UAE business community for almost 40 years and our regional expertise and knowledge, combined with our ability to offer Notary Public services, will enable Hadef & Partners to meet the increasing needs and demands of businesses and individual clients in Abu Dhabi.”

The service offering of Hadef & Partners presently includes a range of notarial services, such as:

  • Powers of Attorney
  • Mortgage Transactions
  • Local Service Agent Transactions
  • Settlement and Compromise Transactions
  • Acknowledgements and Undertakings
  • Sale and purchase of shares or moveable assets

Our services also include advising clients on requirements to amend documents and/or prepare any additional documents needed to satisfy the requirements for notarisation.

For convenience, Hadef & Partners can also provide mobile notary services whereby one of our Notaries can arrange to come to an office or home location for the purpose of notarisation.

For further information, please contact Hadef & Partners. Telephone: +971 2 205 5300 or Email: [email protected].

UK entrepreneurs pledge support for construction skills initiative

An initiative designed to attract new talent into the built environment industry has secured the backing of entrepreneurs from three high-profile firms.

Black & White Engineering (B&W), s h e d and James Christopher Consulting are the latest companies to become sponsors of PlanBEE (Built Environment Education), a flexible training programme designed to attract and retain the brightest new talent in the region, plug skills gaps and create a more flexible workforce capable of working across various construction disciplines.

The initiative was launched in 2016 when Gateshead College and Ryder Architecture formed a powerful alliance with a network of architects, designers, contractors and engineering specialists.

Rather than follow a traditional training model where students complete their qualifications while working in one company, PlanBEE gives trainees the chance to work in several companies across the built environment industry.

This radical approach allows entrepreneurs to make their business more competitive and efficient by hiring staff with a more rounded understanding of the industry.

Students on the programme will now benefit from a wider range of expertise with B&W, s h e d and James Christopher Consulting on board.

Launched in the United Arab Emirates in 2007, B&W is a mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) design consultancy with offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Baku, Manila, London and Newcastle. The company offers design and consultancy services to the construction industry worldwide and has worked on numerous large-scale iconic projects including high-rise towers, data centres, hotels, shopping malls and airports.

Steven Horn, director, in B&W’s Newcastle office, said: “We need to see more young people coming into our industry with knowledge of different areas of the built environment. The way PlanBEE is structured allows us to achieve this. The programme is ideal preparation for how we want to develop our staff, which is to give them opportunities to experience different ways of working on various projects around the world.”

Newcastle-based s h e d is a structural and civil engineering design consultancy that specialises in complex engineering design and Building Information Modelling (BIM), an approach that helps firms risk-assess projects at an early stage by generating intelligent 3D models of buildings before construction takes place.

Marc Horn of s h e d said: “Our expertise in BIM requires us to recruit staff with a rounded understanding of the built environment sector. PlanBEE enables us to achieve this because it moves away from traditional off-the-shelf training initiatives that shoehorn professionals into narrowly defined roles in a single company.”

James Christopher Consulting, an established engineering practice in Gateshead, offers design services to the built environment sector and works on a wide range of projects, from small-scale specialist structures to large-scale commercial developments including land reclamation and drainage works.

Technical director Craig Higgins said: “We were delighted to get involved with PlanBEE and were impressed with this novel approach to recruiting, training and developing staff. There’s a strong emphasis on the application of digital technologies to different types of construction projects and we want our workforce to be at the forefront of this revolution.”

Working with Gateshead College, the PlanBEE group has created a bespoke higher-level skills programme that provides budding professionals with study and off-the-job training at the college’s construction facility on Team Valley, along with a job working with some of the region’s leading companies. It has been tailored specifically for and by the North East construction sector, providing students with a starting salary of £10,700 per year, a professional qualification and a guaranteed job opportunity on graduation.

Established by Ryder Architecture, the initiative has already attracted some high-profile names, including Brims Construction, NBS, Desco (Design & Consultancy), BIM Academy, Sir Robert McAlpine, Xsite Architecture, Robertson, 3e Consulting, Cundall, Arup, FaulknerBrowns, Sadler Brown Architecture and Tolent.

Chris Toon, deputy principal at Gateshead College, said: “It’s great to have three additional sponsors on board. The industry has called for employees to be skilled in a greater range of disciplines, such as surveying, landscaping, architecture and planning, and PlanBEE addresses this fundamental need.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of an industry-led initiative that’s becoming a national exemplar for the recruitment and development of construction employees.”

Mark Thompson, managing partner at Ryder Architecture, added: “It’s fantastic to see the positive impact the programme is making on the students and sponsoring businesses, and we’re delighted to be welcoming the new sponsors to our third cohort.”