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May 2020

Qatar at forefront of supporting country’s private sector, says Menon

Pratap John – Gulf Times
Qatar’s government has been at the forefront of supporting the private sector, thanks to the directive of His Highness the Amir to deploy the QR75bn stimulus package, by which the private sector can manage to service their loans and meet their operational requirements, said GWC Group CEO Ranjeev Menon.

Additionally, the government’s effort will assist the private sector in navigating the Covid-19 situation as this sector fulfils its economic role in the society, Menon said in an interview with Gulf Times.

Moreover, he noted, the additional measures included the government’s rapid response to the public health crisis by creating makeshift hospitals and treatment areas and enforcing new policies meant to safeguard the business community.

“We can expect the same attention to detail and quick adjustments to take place as we re-establish the strength of our economy,” Menon said.

Asked whether the Qatari private sector needs a special package to deal with the post-Covid phase, he said, “The effects of Covid-19 will be experienced for years, though we hope that everyone’s health is secured and the virus is contained as soon as possible. It will again be a matter of balancing the gains earned through new automations and efficient management of operations at a distance that have been fast-tracked due to the containment efforts against the true losses experienced because of halted or delayed business and trade.

“The government support will help the private sector to sustain itself and hopefully revive those that took a harder hit,” he said.

On private sector’s significance to Qatari economy, Menon said, “In many countries including the most advanced and developing nations, the private sector (SMEs in particular) is the backbone of the economy. There is no question that the private sector is a major contributor to the diversification of economic sectors aimed for by the Qatar National Vision 2030.

“This cannot be stressed enough now as we see the oil and gas industry impacted by the fluctuating oil prices, but also as we see our combined efforts to ensure food and trade security over the years bear fruit. The private sector employs thousands of people and is integral in the food and medical supply chain as well as other sectors.

“Furthermore, the private sector’s significance in terms of GDP contribution, employment and food security will be maintained through this stimulus package.”

On whether the Qatari private sector needs to equip itself to face such major challenges in future, Menon said, “The word ‘unprecedented’ is often repeated since the beginning of the outbreak and so to imagine a global crisis at this level might have been beyond anyone’s imagination.

“That said, we are thankful at GWC that we had in place a ‘Business Continuity Plan’ that we invoked with immediate effect upon learning of the outbreak. This has helped guide us as we adjust to the new reality,” Menon explained.

On a larger scale, he said, “Valuable lessons have been learned on a national crisis management level in terms of readiness and reaction, thanks to the wise leadership and direction of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who guided the nation to be better equipped for such extraordinary scenarios.”

Speaking about GWC’s experience as the top logistics provider in the country, Menon said, “There have definitely been some challenging logistics needs to overcome, but I also know that our employees have risen to the challenge, facing the logistics needs of the nation at a time of uncertainty, both in terms of health and safety and the shifting and increasing standards of operations.

“The company is now offering round-the-clock services for critical and urgent requirements, we also work hard to provide support to our SME clients such as those in the GWC Bu Sulba Warehousing Park, helping them through various discount and relief programmes to protect their interests and subsequently, their contributions towards the diversification of the nation’s economic sectors.

“In addition, we are providing SMEs who are importing critical medical supplies intended for the fight of Covid-19 with free customs clearance and transport services. GWC has fulfilled every safety measure to ensure the continued health of our employees, clients, stakeholders, and the nation, while also making sure that food, health, and other vital consumer products are received from the ports of entry, cleared, transported, stored, and distributed at a time when these goods is most urgently needed.”

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