HE Chairman of Qatar Chamber Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani said that Qatar Chamber, as the representative of the private sector, has undertaken a set of measures supportive to the efforts made by the government to address the economic crisis resulted by the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In an interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA), HE the Chairman of Qatar Chamber said that the performance showed by the private sector and the important initiatives launched by business owners proved that the private sector is a real partner to the government in its development process, and reflected the extent of support and attention the wise leadership and the esteemed government attach to this sector.

HE the Chairman call on merchants and owners of companies to provide all forms of support, through cooperation in reducing or fixing prices, and providing services and facilities, within the framework of social solidarity and to meet the requirements of corporate social responsibility.

He noted that business owners have great responsibility in the current situation, saying: ‘It is time to return the favor and show loyalty to the homeland at this difficult time’.

HE the Chairman of Qatar Chamber noted the facilities provided by the State and the QR 75 billion support which would contribute to mitigating the damages and helping companies to continue their business and achieve growth.

HE Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani praised the keenness of the wise leadership and the esteemed government on supporting the private sector and developing economic plans assigned to it in the way out of this crisis, in addition to taking the necessary precautionary measure to protect the citizens and residents from the spread of the coronavirus.

In response to a question on the most significant efforts adopted by Qatar Chamber in the current crisis, HE the Chairman said that Qatar Chamber immediately contacted all concerned parties to identify the obstacles faced by companies in order to address them, while the Board of Directors held an emergency meeting to discuss the causes of the crisis and the efforts that can be made by the private sector and local companies to support the government efforts, especially those implemented by the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management.

He added that the Chamber also formed an emergency committee to monitor all developments at the level of all economic sectors and to represent a communication link between companies and government agencies. The Chamber also called on business owners to facilitate the conditions for defaulters, especially the small and medium-sized companies, whether by exempting from the rental value or postponing the dues until the crisis eases.

HE added that among the most important measures adopted by Qatar Chamber was the launch of Takatuf initiative which aims at encouraging its members from the public and private joint-stock companies and businessmen to support the countrys efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Through Takatuf initiative, Qatar Chamber received more that 70 initiatives presented by business owners and local companies, including establishing field hospitals, providing medical personnel when necessary, providing drivers and support services as well as equipment, air conditioners and generators, in addition to providing and delivering food, masks and medical gloves, and local food products, HE the Chairman noted.

The initiatives also include providing transportation, cleaning and hospitality services, sterilization and disinfection services for buildings, streets and manors, as well as medical equipment and medicines, in addition to supplying mattresses and providing volunteers, display screens, speakers, printing guide boards and setting up self-service devices in labour camps to reduce the spread of the virus.

HE the Chairman of Qatar Chamber said that these initiatives reflect the solidarity, cooperation and patriotism shown by the private sector towards the society, and its support for the efforts exerted by the government, noting that the Chamber directs the initiatives it receives through Takatuf to the government institutions based on their needs. In this context, the Chamber directed 24 initiatives to the Ministry of Public Health, and coordination is currently underway to direct a number of other initiatives to Qatar Red Crescent according to its needs. The Chamber is also coordinating with many government institutions to direct the initiatives according to their needs and assigned roles.

Regarding the facilities the Chamber has accomplished for streamlining the flow of food products to the market smoothly, HE Qatar Chamber Chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Mohammed bin Jassim All-Thani told QNA that the Chamber's sectoral committees have continued their effective coordination meetings, as the Food Committee worked to ensure the continued flow of food commodities to the Qatari market, while the Health Committee continued to coordinate with the Ministry of Health to resolve any repercussions on the health sector. The Education Committee also examined the impact of the education sector and reached practical solutions in coordination with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, he added.

His Excellency pointed out that the Chamber has worked with the relevant authorities to ensure the continuity of supply of food products for companies and factories that are located in the closed zone in the Industrial Area. The executive management of the Chamber, HE said, also took several measures consistent with the government's precautionary efforts and measures to limit the spread of the virus, as it implemented plans allowing employees to work online from home through the Chamber's electronic systems, and allocated hotlines to answer any inquiries from merchants and businessmen.

His Excellency also noted that the emergency committee worked to solve the problem of transporting goods to and from the Industrial Area, by setting up an electronic system through which companies, which are willing to transport goods to and from the closed area, can access and fill in their data. He explained that the Chamber will collect these data in statements and send them electronically to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to approve, and then, the Chamber will send this approved statement to companies so that they can transport their goods to and from the Industrial Area according to the data recorded in that statement.

HE Sheikh Khalifa bin Mohammed bin Jassim All-Thani stressed that this mechanism contributed to facilitating the flow of goods from the Industrial Area to local markets, which helped to stabilize the market and ensure the supply of all food products in the local markets in a smooth and continuous manner.

Regarding the efforts made by the Chamber to support the affected entrepreneurs, His Excellency affirmed the Chamber's keenness on supporting this sector, out of its awareness of the importance of the great role of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) which are considered the backbone of the modern economy, as well as its support for the State's policies in achieving economic diversification.

HE Qatar Chamber Chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Mohammed bin Jassim All-Thani said that as part of initiatives to support entrepreneurs and their small and medium enterprises, the Chamber held last March the SMEs Conference, stressing the support of this important economic activity through a number of initiatives such as the initiative supporting business entrepreneurs entitled ‘Ma'an’ (Together), which were launched by the Chamber in cooperation with Qatar Development Bank and Qatar University, in addition to other forms of support represented in training courses and logistical support. (QNA)