Tamkeen support for SMEs urged

A PROPOSAL urging Tamkeen to support small and medium enterprises from possible bankruptcy is being urgently pushed, it has emerged.

The proposal was recommended yesterday by Parliament’s services committee and referred to Parliament chairwoman Fouzia Zainal.

However, due to time restraints the issue would be listed for discussion during Parliament’s session next week.

The proposal is being presented by four MPs led by financial and economic affairs committee chairman Ahmed Al Salloom.

Tamkeen told the committee in writing that it has already provided support worth BD2.8 million to 800 small and medium enterprises.

“Small and medium companies are entitled for support from Tamkeen to prevent them from going bankrupt,” said Mr Al Salloom, who is also board member of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and chairman of the Bahrain Small and Medium Enterprises Development Society.

“Under the 2018 Bankruptcy Law, Tamkeen is already obliged to protect small and medium businesses from closing for any reason whatsoever.

“And now with the coronavirus crisis leading to a stagnant market, it should step in immediately by providing direct financial support, while also helping with accounting, legal and administrative affairs.”

Mr Al Salloom, who is also Bahrain Parliamentary Bloc president, said helping those businesses will ensure there is no market collapse.

“The small and medium companies constitute 99 per cent of the market, according to latest government statistics, with a capital of BD1.7 billion. So their continuation is vital for the market not to collapse.

“These companies provide jobs to 52,918 Bahrainis and contribute 28pc to the country’s gross domestic product.”

A BD4.3 billion economic stimulus package of eight initiatives to bolster the economy was approved by the Cabinet last month.

As part of the first initiative, MPs and Shura Council members unanimously voted in favour of an urgent legislation to withdraw money from the Unemployment Fund to pay for the wages of Bahrainis in the private sector for April, May and June.

More than 100,000 Bahrainis will be supported at a cost of BD215 million.

The seven other initiatives include a waiver on electricity and water bills for all accounts for three months and a delay of bank loan instalments for six months for those impacted by the virus.

Another initiative would see Tamkeen redirecting its programmes to support adversely affected companies, as well as restructuring all debts issued by it.

The other initiatives include doubling the Liquidity Fund to BD200m, and exempting tourism facilities from fees for three months, among others.

“We are still waiting for Tamkeen’s revamped programmes that were announced last month as part of the Covid-19 offset package,” said Mr Al Salloom.

“Tamkeen’s role will be much bigger under our proposal as we push local businesses to become frontrunners in the region provided they survive the crisis.”

 

Source: http://www.gdnonline.com/Details/789109/Tamkeen-support-for-SMEs-urged

 

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