Reduction applies only on first offence in the calendar year

Dubai’s Department of Economic Development is reducing commercial fines for traders by 50 per cent and implementing an automatic settlement system that generates a text message alert for fines.

“The Department of Economic Development is proud to launch initiatives based on the vision and directives of our leadership, especially when 2019 begins as the Year of Tolerance,” said Mohammed Lootah, chief executive of the department’s commercial compliance and consumer protection division.

“The automatic fine settlement facility will contribute to enhancing happiness in Dubai and the emirate’s position across global competitiveness indicators.”

Previously, trading customers had to request a settlement on which the system verified the trader’s eligibility for any reduction in fines. Mr Lootah said the department received more than 4,650 fine settlement requests in 2017 and 2018 under the previous system.

“The net value of fines settled under the 50 per cent reduction in 2017-2018 was Dh23.4 million. We believe that the new automated system will be smoother and more flexible as it will automatically adjust the fines and benefit more business owners,” he said.

The reduction is applicable only on fines issued for the first offence in a calendar year and is being overseen by Mr Lootah’s division.

Total trade volumes in Dubai’s economic free zones grew by 22 per cent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2018, making a significant contribution to the emirate’s economy, said the department, which released a report last month.

Free zone trade hit Dh394bn, accounting for 41 per cent of Dubai’s total trade during the period, according to the Dubai Free Zones Council, the authority that oversees the emirate’s 24 free-trade areas, which include Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai Media City, Jebel Ali Port zone and others.

China topped the list of Dubai’s most significant free-trade partners with a total trade volume of Dh59bn over the period. Saudi Arabia was second with Dh34.2bn, closely followed by India with Dh34bn.

Total imports in free zones amounted to Dh215bn, while exports and re-exports totalled Dh179bn.

Overall, the free zones generated 31.9 per cent of Dubai’s gross domestic product, the council said.

Source: The National