Qatar govt’s timely support aids its economic recovery

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Qatar’s economy has recovered from the effects of the COVID-19 crisis with timely support by its government.

The Supreme Committee for Crisis Management has declared a huge $20 billion (QR75 billion) stimulus package to the private sector to combat the COVID-19 crisis and additionally, $2 billion (QR10 billion) was invested to improve the capital market of the country.

A suitable mechanism was placed by the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) to direct banks to postpone the repayment of loans and the other obligations of the private sector to the banks for six months, which was later extended until December.

The Supreme Committee also instructed the Qatar Development Bank (QDB) to defer all borrowers’ installment and government funds to raise their Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) investment by $2 billion (QR10 billion). The QCB offered additional liquidity to banks operating in the country as per the decision.

The Supreme Court exempted the food industry from customs duty for six months as another major relief to the food industry, which has been the hardest hit since the COVID-19 outbreak. This has been extended for another three months. The medical goods were also exempted from customs duty during the same span.

The Committee agreed to exclude energy and water bills from the hospitality and tourism sector, the retail sector, the industrial complexes, and the logistics areas. The Supreme Committee’s other major decision was to exclude Qatar’s emerging logistics zones and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from rents during the same period.

In October, a QDB official reported that the National Guarantee Programme stimulus package had already issued support guarantees to more than 3,500 companies since the incentive scheme was introduced. The program intends to provide funding grants to support wages and rentals for private sector companies impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most recently, the QDB has prolonged the period of receiving applications for the National Guarantee Program until June 15, 2021, and it will continue to manage and oversee the program in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and QCB, and all banks operating in the country.