Private sector companies hit by the economic fallout from the pandemic still have the chance to apply for government funding after it was announced the financial assistance scheme will be extended for another six months.
Businesses can now apply for wage stimulus packages through the National Guarantee Program until June 15, 2021, Qatar Development Bank [QDB] announced on Sunday.
The bank has extended the application period to enable local banks to grant loans to private sector companies affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Initially the project was scheduled to end at the end of 202, but has now been extended by an additional six months.
The move comes as part of QDB’s cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and the Qatar Central Bank’s efforts to provide grants that cover salaries and rents for companies affected by the pandemic.
The soft loan programme was initially launched in March when the coronavirus outbreak forced the majority of commercial activities to put their operations on hold in order to contain the local spread of COVID-19.
In September, the local private sector was provided with more financial support by the Qatari government as it tried to navigate through the pandemic. Private businesses were exempt from electricity and water bills for an additional three months.
The sectors that have benefitted from the government’s incentives include hospitality and tourism, small and medium industries as well as retail. Commercial complexes that were willing to provide tenants with the same services were also listed among these businesses eligible for help.
In a Cabinet meeting held in September, officials confirmed that the country would increase the National Guarantee Program’s ceiling by QR 2 billion, raising the overall total to QR 5 billion.
The government has continuously supported businesses to address the hurdles accompanying the coronavirus pandemic.
At the start of the pandemic in March, Amir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani provided the business sector with an economic boost of at least QR 75 billion to curb the effects of the health crisis on businesses.