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Mon 9 Mar 2020 09:47 AM

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Revealed: How Dubai's DIFC is responding to coronavirus

DIFC governor Essa Kazim said it's up to companies in the financial hub to decide how they will respond to the coronavirus

Revealed: How Dubai's DIFC is responding to coronavirus

Essa Kazim said that his and the DIFC’s understanding of the current situation is that it’s “nothing drastic” and has been under control.

The governor of Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) said it's too early to tell gauge the impact of the coronavirus, with companies in the financial hub being left to determine how they respond.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Essa Kazim, chairman of DIFC Authority Board of Directors and governor of DIFC, said that despite the coronavirus, DIFC managed to license approximately 100 companies in January and February.

“That means 2.5 [new] companies per working day,” he said. “That is even higher than what was achieved in 2019, when it was 2 companies per working day.”

Asked whether he expects DIFC-registered companies will order that their employees work from home as a precautionary measure, Kazim said that DIFC is so far leaving tat decision to the companies themselves.

“That is really left to the individual companies, to do what suits them and makes them more comfortable,” he said. “As far as the DIFC Authority is concerned, we do have a plan to do that, to work from home. That is [ready] for us to activate whenever is necessary.”

This decision, he added, would only be taken after a decision is made at a federal level by the UAE government.

Kazim added that he believes that existing companies in DIFC will “adapt” to the situation and “find their own ways and means of providing services to clients, whether it is remotely, online or from home.”

Additionally, Kazim said that his and the DIFC’s understanding of the current situation is that it’s “nothing drastic” and has been under control.

“We have to wait to see how the circumstances unfold,” he said. “Life has to go on.”

For 2019, the DIFC announce record growth, with the total number of firms in the centre rising 14% to 2,437.

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