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Assembly OKs proposal to amend ‘law’ on National Fund for SMEs
February 15, 2018, 8:50 am
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The National Assembly on Wednesday approved the proposal to amend the National Fund for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Law number 98/2013 in its first reading.

Out of the 34 members who attended the session, 29 voted in favor of the report of the parliamentary Business Environment Improvement and Small and Medium Enterprises Welfare Committee on the proposal; while two voted against and three abstained.

During the session, Minister of Commerce and Industry and State Minister for Youth Affairs Khaled Al- Roudhan said the amendment is necessary to encourage healthy competition between entrepreneurs.

In the amended version of the law, the role of the fund has been expanded such that it will sponsor projects rather than focus on financing. Al-Roudhan believes the amended law will be more beneficial for the projects, calling on all MPs to endorse the proposal.

He argued the current law caused damages to many small and medium enterprises, disclosing that he met many youth groups and entrepreneurs and heard their views as well as the difficulties they faced; hence, the need to amend the law.

He pointed out the proposed amendment will change the concept of the fund to an entity which cares for small and medium enterprises, considering many projects need care more than funding. In a related development, Deputy Premier and State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh expressed support for the proposal.

He added, “It is clear that there are some obstacles which prevented pioneers of small and medium enterprises from fully benefiting from the law.”

Furthermore, the Assembly instructed the Public Funds Protection Committee to investigate the irregularities that MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri mentioned in Wednesday’s session.

He asserted, “There are thieves where there are billions of funds. The bill is flawed and the minister of commerce is lying to the MPs just to gain their support in approving the bill. We cannot pass a bill through which public money will be stolen. Some are pushing for approval of the bill to serve personal interests.”

The minister responded: “We are racing against time to protect public funds. Whoever claims that the fund is favoring a certain party should ask the Assembly to form an investigation committee.”

After the discussion, Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim announced that the next session will be held on March 6, 2018.

Source: Arab Times

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