MADLSA seminar highlights incentives for SMEs
The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor, and Social Affairs (MADLSA), in cooperation with the ILO Project Office in Qatar and the International Organization of Employers, held a seminar entitled "The Economic Response Plan on Coronavirus (COVID-19)” for small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) in Qatar.
The webinar aimed at exchanging ideas on specific short-term measures to support small and medium-sized companies and protect employment amid pandemic crisis of (COVID-19), as well as discussing best practices followed by governments and employers to support these companies.
Mohammed Hassan Al Obaidli, Assistant Undersecretary for Labour Affairs, reviewed the economic response plan and possible measures for small and medium-sized companies, and the ongoing efforts of the State to support them to address the threats they face as a result of the pandemic, including exempting small and medium companies from covering the costs of isolation and treatment, as the State provides all medical, food and housing expenses.
He also touched on the directives issued by the MADLSA related to the preventive measures to be followed in the workplace, housing and others on the contractual relationship, and the possibility of agreement between workers and employers that workers take unpaid leave, reduce working hours, or temporarily reduce wages in order to reduce the company’s costs during this temporary period, which encourages the building of sound industrial relations between workers and employers and solidarity during crises with a view to sustaining business.
For his part, Majid Al Khulaifi, Assistant Undersecretary for Commerce Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, referred to the announcement by Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, on the financial incentives package to support the private sector at a value of QR75bn , or about 10 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), policies and programmes supporting the private sector, especially small and mediumsized companies, financially and logistically, besides tax exemptions and rent payments and utilities announced.
Khalid Al Mana, Executive Director of Business Finance at Qatar Development Bank (QDB), spoke about the national guarantees programme that was launched to respond to the repercussions of COVID-19.
For his part, Hamad Al Mulla, Assistant Executive Director of the Supervision and Control of Financial Institutions at Qatar Central Bank (QCB), praised the mechanism approved by banks in postponing the repayment of outstanding loan instalments and interest for some sectors for a period of six months starting from March 2020. Matthias Thorns, Deputy Secretary-General of the International Organization of Employers (IOE), discussed the impact of small and medium-sized companies worldwide, and presented international experiences in order to support them and avoid job losses.