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14 April 2024

Sultan Al Qasimi issues Emiri Decree establishing Sharjah's free zone authority

By Wam

H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, issued an Emiri Decree on the establishment of the Sharjah Oasis Technology and Innovation, SOTI, a 'free zone authority' in the Emirate of Sharjah.

Decree No. 05 of 2019 stipulates that this free zone authority will be completely owned by the University of Sharjah, and have corporate personality and capacity to undertake legal actions necessary to achieve its objectives. Its location and geographical borders shall be determined by an order to be issued by the Ruler.

Pursuant to Article (4) of the new Emiri decree, the SOTI’s authority objectives include processing applied scientific researches to produce new techniques and innovations through providing suitable environment for creativity and an innovation; developing knowledgeable economical projects and manage to make partnerships with universities, frames and related sectors; proposing educational and training programs in coordination with the related sectors; encouraging researchers and students for the scientific research and develop their scientific abilities; encouraging the companies, authorities and global centres to invest within the authority; supporting, encouraging and developing the innovation and creativity ecosystem to support the university and the Emirate standing as a global destination in the field of research, development technology, education and creative science; enacting the legislations contributing to the engagement of the education sector, specifically faculty, staff and students in launching their private enterprises; and developing and nurturing talents and human labour forces in the fields related to the Emirate’s economic and social priorities, and therefore enhancing the Emirate’s competitive power through recruiting and encouraging firms and companies specialised in the field of innovation.

The Authority shall adopt commercial accounting principles and standards in maintaining its accounts and records. The financial year shall commence on the 1st day of January and expire 31st of December of each year provided that the first financial year shall commence from the date on which the Authority commences its operation and expires on 31st December of the same year.

Companies, establishments, individuals and staff working in the Authority are exempted from taxes levied in the Emirate for their business within the Authority for fifty years renewable for similar period(s) by decision from the Ruler effective from business commencement date.

The Authority management shall have the authority to monitor and inspect activities of companies, establishments, individuals and staff working within the Authority which might violate the applicable legislations, this decree or any other relative legislations.

All business performed within the Authority by the Authority companies, establishments and staff are not subject to laws and regulations applicable by the municipalities or the economic development department or any other government bodies and authorities. Notwithstanding the above, the Authority may utilise or use any licensing facilities or services provided by the said departments for licensing the Authority companies and establishments as the Authority management thinks suitable. All the Authority companies and establishments which benefited from such department services in their licenses shall be subject to the free zones rules and regulations and their licenses shall be deemed as if issued by the Authority.

The Ruler shall issue a decision regulating the charges payable for services which the Authority provide. Such regulation shall determine fines and remedies applicable to companies and establishments that violate this decree or any by-laws issued under it. The Ruler shall also issue the Authority financial and administrative regulations.

Under no circumstances shall the government or the Authority be liable directly or indirectly to third parties for debts and obligations of companies and establishments operating within or outside the Authority or for any other damages whatsoever.

The Authority is exempted from all local taxes and charges whatsoever type.

This Decree shall come into effect from the date of its issuance and shall supersede any provision that contradicts or conflicts with its provisions and shall be published in the Official Gazette.