Al-Kuwari presides over virtual meeting to discuss private sector challenges due to Covid-19 crisis
June 04 2020 09:14 PM
HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari
HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari

Challenges facing the private sector in light of the economic repercussions of the coronavirus outbreak figured at a virtual meeting chaired by HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari in Doha on Thursday.

The committee has been tasked with evaluating and tackling the obstacles facing the private sector.

The meeting, which was held through video conferencing technology, was attended by Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani, along with representatives of the private sector including Sheikh Nawaf bin Nasser bin Khalid al-Thani, Sheikh Khalid bin Thani al-Thani, Omar Alfardan and Dr Khalid Klefeekh al-Hajri.

The meeting praised HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani, for his keenness to follow up on the economic and trade repercussions of the Covid-19 outbreak. The Prime Minister had previously discussed the impact of the pandemic on the private sector, and appropriate solutions to overcome related challenges, during a meeting held on May 7 with representatives of the Qatar Chamber and the Qatari Businessmen Association.

Discussions touched on the challenges facing the private sector in light of the economic repercussions of the coronavirus outbreak. The meeting’s agenda featured a number of important topics, including the launch of stimulus programmes to support the private sector and their implementation mechanisms.

Discussions also touched on the initiatives that the Minister of Commerce and Industry proposed, building on the ministry's efforts to address the obstacles faced by the private sector and follow up on complaints.

Attendees also highlighted the efforts of the QBA and the Chamber as well as the challenges facing a number of key sectors.

The meeting touched on the financial and economic stimulus package implemented in support of the private sector under the directives of His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

The package featured a number of initiatives in support of vital economic sectors such as the health and food security sectors, tourism, education, contracting, banking, investment and industry.

Attendees also highlighted the most prominent decisions and measures that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has taken to bolster the private sector’s ability to meet current challenges, and the future plans that the ministry intends to implement in this field.

The ministry has taken all the necessary measures to ensure the inflow of food products, pharmaceutical goods and medical supplies to meet the needs of citizens and residents, in line with the preventive measures aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

Food and medical supplies were exempted from customs duties for a period of six months, which reflected positively on their retail prices, while the private sector has been exempted from electricity and water fees for a period of six months.

As part of its efforts to protect the health and safety of consumers, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry compelled food outlets to adopt safe distancing measures between customers, and intensified its inspection campaigns to ensure merchants complied with the issued decisions.

Discussions also touched on initiatives aimed at supporting the construction sector.

In this context, the Ministry issued Circular No. (1) of 2020 on exempting the contracting and construction sector from the decision pertaining to regulating working hours for business activities.

Discussions also focused on efforts to support car dealers, including the issuance of Circular No. (17) of 2020, which excludes car maintenance workshops from the decision on working hours in addition to organising entry and exit procedures from the Industrial Area.

Restrictions have been eased on owners of establishments operating in the Industrial Area and the inflow and outflow of materials and equipment, in line with the precautionary procedures and the requirements of the concerned authorities in this regard.

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