Qatar Cabinet announces support to private sector closed due to Covid-19 precautionary measures
HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al-Thani chaired Wednesday via videoconference the Cabinet's regular meeting.
Following the meeting, HE the Minister of Justice and Acting Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Dr. Issa bin Saad Al Jafali Al Nuaimi said the following statement:
At the outset of the meeting, the Cabinet congratulated HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on the occasion of the blessed month of Ramadan, asking Allah Almighty to return it to His Highness with good health and happiness, and to Qatar and its honorable people and those who live in Qatar with more prosperity and development under the wise leadership of His Highness, and to the Arab and Islamic nations with security, peace and stability.
In view of the current conditions in the country as a result of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in implementation of the sublime directives of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to support and provide financial and economic incentives to the private sector and mitigate the economic consequences of the pandemic, the Cabinet adopted additional support packages for the sectors affected by the closures resulting from the precautionary measures to deal with the spread of COVID-19, as follows:
1- Exemption from electricity and water fees for closed sectors until the end of September 2021.
2- Extension of the National Guarantees Program at Qatar Development Bank until the end of September 2021.
3- Extension of the period of the exemption from interest for an additional year for the National Guarantees Program to become two years without interest, in addition to two years of payment with interest that does not exceed the Qatar Central Bank rate + 2%.
4- Raising the limits of funding salaries and wages for closed sectors to QR15 million for a single identity card, while retaining the rest of the relevant terms and conditions.
5- Continued support by Qatar Central Bank to the liquidity of local banks as needed.
Then, the Cabinet listened to the explanation provided by HE Minister of Public Health on the latest developments to limit the spread of Coronavirus. The Cabinet expressed satisfaction over the progress of the vaccination against the COVID-19 in the State of Qatar, as 1,168,087 doses of the vaccine have been administered since the start of the national vaccination program, and the percentage of people who received the first dose of vaccination reached 27% of the total number of population and the percentage of people who received the two doses is 15% of the total population, thus the State of Qatar ranked ninth in the world in the proportion of people who received vaccination. The Cabinet praised this achievement and the plans and programs put in place to vaccinate the entire population in the country.
The Cabinet then considered the topics listed on its agenda.
The Cabinet took the necessary measures to issue a draft law on mortgaging movable funds, after the Council of Ministers reviewed the recommendation of the Shura Council on the draft law.
The draft law aims to enable companies and individuals to obtain bank loans with the guarantee of mortgaged movables, and contribute to reducing the cost of loans by creating a guarantee for banks to reduce the risk of defaulting payments, thus supporting small and medium enterprises and their contribution to the national economy.
Among the provisions contained in the draft law are the provisions related to the scope of application, the establishment of the electronic register in the Qatar Central Securities Depository and the data to be recorded in the register, the establishment and enforcement of the right of mortgage, and the rights of the mortgagee.
The Cabinet also approved a draft law amending some provisions of Law No. (1) of 2019 regulating the investment of non-Qatari capital in economic activity.
The draft law includes the amendment of Article (7) of the law so that non-Qatari investors can own up to (100%) of the capital of Qatari shareholding companies listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange.
The Cabinet approved draft decision of the Minister of Finance to apply the requirements of substantial activity to the economic activities practiced in the State of Qatar.
In addition, the Cabinet approved a draft protocol amending some provisions of the agreement between the government of the State of Qatar and the government of Bermuda regarding the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of financial evasion with regard to taxes on income.
The Cabinet took the necessary measures to ratify an agreement between the State of Qatar and the United Nations regarding the establishment of a United Nations office in the State of Qatar affiliated with the Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), in support of the UNOCT program related to the establishment of "International Hub on Behavioral Insights to Counter Terrorism" as a UNOCT Program Office in the State of Qatar.