SMEs to benefit from raft of new relief measures announced in Oman

Oman Wednesday 01/June/2022 20:24 PM
By: Times News Service
SMEs to benefit from raft of new relief measures announced in Oman
The new round of assistance will give SMEs the momentum required to continue to focus on growth.

Muscat: Small and medium enterprises in Oman will benefit from the new raft of measures announced by His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik.

His Majesty issued a series of directives to assist SMEs during a meeting with the Council of Ministers on 31 May, 2022.

Among the measures provided are the availability of an additional package of subsidies for SMEs, entrepreneurs and insolvent persons. Furthermore, to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the package includes a number of subsidies and payment of overdue fees by entrepreneurs.

These include waivers for entrepreneurs who are Riyada card holders (for beneficiaries of emergency loans) issued by the Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises, waivers from fines and fees payable by SMEs against delays in loans to the Lender Portfolio (earlier called the Al Raffd Fund) until the end of this year and waivers in payments of overdue fees from entrepreneurs and SME owners who  face prison charges, following prosecution on account of bad cheques drawn on insufficient funds.

The measures also include postponement of lawsuits against individuals/establishments not abiding by the provisions of loan agreements signed with the Lender Portfolio until the end of 2022.

“Times were tough for us during the COVID pandemic because of a sharp fall in business, as was the condition all around the world,” said Saeed, who runs a 3D printing firm. “Things are just beginning to pick up again, and this support we are receiving is much needed.”

Ali, who runs a transportation business, added: “All of us had mounting bills and so were grateful when the government issued its package of support for us. We were a bit worried about how we would carry on once the support ended, but now that fresh assistance has come, it will give us the momentum required to continue to focus on growth.”

Dr Ahmed Al Hooti, the head of economic study and a board member of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that now that SMEs were taken care of with this package, his organisation would try to secure assistance for companies that have been severely affected by supply chain disruptions and price rises.

“We found that many companies were suffering around the world from the current conditions,” he said.

“We believe that these packages could help, maybe not all of the SMEs and business communities, but at least a number of them will benefit from this kind of package.”

Al Hooti went on to say: “We are still looking ahead to get better provisions from the government, to assist those sectors that are quite badly affected, not because of the coronavirus, but because of the increase in prices, and because of the disruptions in supply chains, which is making things expensive.”

He added: “We want the banks to be flexible to help the private sector, help with soft loans, decrease the interest rates, we are also asking them to split the time required for companies to pay back loans, and we also require more projects in the country so that our economic engines turn faster.”