SMEs in Kuwait are suffering the consequences of restrictions and partial lock-down because of COVID-19. Sources say the Kuwaiti government, following an analytical approach to the problem, is considering a bailout nearing the amount of $1.6 Billion.
Enlisting the help and guidance of local banks and Kuwaiti entrepreneurs the government is in the process of coming up with a flexible financial security law that small business owners can benefit from after the losses endured because of the pandemic. Debt facilitating tools and prolonging payment deadlines are examples of the many options and suggestions at the government’s table. Pressured by the Kuwaiti Parliament, the government reassured the legislative body that the law not cover large-in-scale corporations (often controlling a monopoly of government funding in various development projects) and would focus only on the revival and rescue of Kuwaiti-owned SMEs.
The Minister of Commerce, Faisal Al-Medlej, has insisted that Kuwaiti entrepreneurs are to participate in the drafting of the legislation so their specific needs are met and the policy would be designed in a way to ensure their prosperity and economic survival. Such decision of inclusion speaks of Kuwait’s unique position as a small country where the entrepreneurial community can cooperate toward the achievement of shared goals.
WAYA reached out to Jaber Al-Hababi, a Kuwaiti entrepreneur and a member of the Small and Medium Enterprises Society (established in 2013), which lobbied for small business owners even before the pandemic. The SME Society focuses on matters of facilitating or removing some of the bureaucratic processes of licensing and opening businesses in Kuwait. Jaber is a lawyer and CEO of, a real estate development company, and a number of fitness gyms in Kuwait City. When asked about the $1.6 million bill Jaber said that though the decision came in late this is a step toward the right direction:
“This legislation will definitely rescue the SMEs and stop the bleeding. Small businesses have been suffering and they do not have solvency because, well, they are small businesses!”
Though not a long-term or final solution, Jaber adds, the law marks a milestone in SME’s participation in public policy. The law would provide a maximum of $820,000 as a loan payable over the period of fifteen years without liability for the first three years to allow time for businesses to recover.
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