Published: Mar 17, 2020

Launch of a Number of Dynamic Initiatives in Abu Dhabi

In its continuous efforts to encourage investment and support the economy in the Emirate, the Government of Abu Dhabi have launched a total of 16 initiatives under “Ghadan 21” which may substantially benefit SMEs, current investors and startups. Although these initiatives have been published by way of announcement rather than law or decree, the announcement stated that these initiatives will be enforced with immediate effect.

Also included are water and electricity subsidies for citizens, and commercial and industrial activities, as well as all exemption of vehicles from road tolls until the end of 2020.

According to the announcement, these initiatives are as follows:


1. Exemptions

  • No annual registration fees for commercial vehicles.
  • No toll gate tariffs for all vehicles.
  • No individual or commercial real estate registration fees.
  • No Tawtheeq fees (fees for issuing a certified municipality lease contract) for commercial and industrial premises.

These exemptions are valid until the end of 2020.


2. SMEs & Startups

  • AED 5bn to subsidise water and electricity for citizens and commercial & industrial activities.
  • Subsidies for electricity connection fees for startups for this year.
  • AED 3bn for SME credit guarantee programme.
  • Performance bonds are waived for startups projects up-to AED 50 million


3. Lending Options

  • New committee to review lending options to support local companies.


4. Waivers & Rebates

  • Suspending bid bonds (possibly applicable to government related bids).
  • Industrial land leasing fees reduced by 25% for new contracts
  • Industrial and commercial penalties are waived.


5. Payment Acceleration

  • Payment of approved government invoices within 15 working days (possibly applicable to invoices against work done for a government entity).


6. Tourism Industry

  • Up to 20% rebate on rentals for the restaurant, tourism and entertainment sectors.
  • Tourism and municipality fees for the tourism & entertainment sectors are suspended for this year.


7. Capital Market

  • Establish AED 1bn market maker fund to enhance liquidity and sustain balance between supply and demand for stocks.


Given that the announcement was published on 16 March 2020, the mechanism through which these initiatives will be implemented is still unclear. Furthermore, it is also unclear whether or not a law or decree will follow to provide further details on the implementation requirements of these initiatives.


Key Contacts:

Hassan Al Jarrah
Head of Corporate Structuring – Abu Dhabi

Khaled Aloklah
Associate, Corporate Structuring