The CoVid pandemic has tested the resolve of most governments worldwide. While some governments have been lauded for their handling of the crisis, some countries have faced the wrath of their electorate for mismanagement. Dubai is fortunate to have a government that has always been proactive about the protection of life and equally proactive about taking care of the economy.
Since the very early days of the pandemic the Dubai Government has been very visible and vocal about the importance of supporting SMEs. Through various initiatives and announcements, the government has kept the business sentiment positive, and this has resulted in Dubai becoming a model worth emulation.
The government functionaries have stayed in constant touch with business entities through regular communication, both public and direct. The Dubai Chamber of Commerce has been sending out surveys to assess the impact of CoVid and gather opinions on remedies. The Dubai Customs has also been proactive as have other government entities. The Dubai Municipality and Dubai Health Authorities have played a stellar role in keeping businesses open and safe.
This constant communication made us believe that we were not alone and that we had the government standing beside us.
Keeping Economy Afloat
The government decision to allow essential businesses to function has proved to be a risk worth taking. Our key industries that contribute to the economy continued to work with minor restrictions. Most construction and nation building activity continued ensuring that those who were shuttered indoors would still have an economic survival when they stepped out.
Rent Free Periods
Businesses would have expected discounted rents, but the free zones announced rent-free periods that prevented a pressure on the real estate market. This astute method also helped us to act differently when dealing with economic pressures from customers and suppliers.
We did not get direct financial support as many tax paying businesses in other nations may have got but we did get some financial relief. We are thankful to the timely support by the Central Banks that enabled Dubai banks to help SME businesses to stay afloat.
The contentious announcement allowing businesses to proactively alter labour contracts with pay cuts may have met with great resistance by employees, but I can surely say that it was a sound decision. Although we did not enforce pay cuts, I am sure that many businesses have survived because of this allowance.
Expo 2020 and 50 Years of UAE
Merging the 50th Anniversary of the UAE as a Nation with Expo 2020 turned out to be a brilliant move and has given new impetus to businesses. The offset by a year inadvertently helped many businesses to bid for new jobs that emerged due to the delay. Together, the two events in 2021 will help us get back on our feet faster.
We are all responsible
The messages and hashtags from the government flashing on billboards from time-to-time have been responsible for the solidarity and hope that we see in Dubai today. Yes, indeed #weareallresponsible. When the government is not just a mere spectator but a willing participant, the SMEs in Dubai have a great future.
The UAE Government has always had our back, and I am proud that Electric Way was founded and flourishes in an economic environment nurtured by the rulers who speak the language of business.
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