Following His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik’s directives, the Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development (ASMED) has launched an emergency loan programme to support SMEs, Qais bin Mohammed bin Moosa al Yousef, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, said on Thursday.
“Under the programme, 3,200 requests for loans have been received so far. The authority decided that field visits should be conducted to companies and institutions to determine who deserve loans,” he said.
According to the minister, the loans target five categories – Entrepreneurs Card holders, women, self-employed, taxi owners and driving instructors.
Some 7,377 loans have already been given to owners of SMEs to support them during the pandemic, the minister added.
“The category most affected was the household activities category at the end of last year.”
He added, “We will take into account the problems faced by small and medium enterprises. The Supreme Committee tasked with tackling the pandemic took into account reducing the period of complete closure of economic activities as much as possible so that small and medium enterprises will not be affected. The economic factors and its effects on citizens are among the priorities. All decisions aim to reduce damage as much as possible,” Yousef said.
During the lockdown, a specialised technical team will take decisions and a joint operations room comprising the concerned authorities will work around the clock to look into enquiries in the governorates, he said.
“Delivery companies will be allowed to operate during the period. These companies must obtain permits to operate. Companies have been able to take advantage of electronic platforms to promote their products and we urge them to continue using these.”
The minister also thanked private sector companies for immunising their employees.