Kuwait government discussed Monday a briefing of economic and social repercussions of coronavirus and steps taken by the supreme committee for economic stimulus, presented by its head, Kuwait Central Bank Governor Mohammad Al-Hashel.
The review urged an early intervention to contain a crisis characterized by uncertainty, due to its negative impacts on global oil prices as a result of dwindling supply and demand and the halt in a large proportion of global economic activity.
The results of the global pandemic were described as being of “unparalleled” proportions, far exceeding initial estimates compared to each and every crisis that has emerged since World War II.
The need to secure public funds was another topic of discussion, along with the importance of protecting the national economy, particularly the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) sector, which is the most vulnerable to these effects.
The need to protect the national workforce, burden sharing amongst all parties to overcome the crisis and to assist the strongly-performing economic entities, which have been known to contribute to the national economy, in order to maintain their production levels upon a return to normal life.
The committee said the 11-article proposed solutions are based on current statistics, leaving the door open for a different approach in the event of the lengthening of the crisis’ duration.
In particular, ministers discussed articles six and seven of the draft proposals, related to providing individuals, SMEs and economic entities with soft loans – a role in which banks could positively contribute through providing liquidity.
The discussions paid homage to the efforts of the Central Bank over the past decade to strengthen the banking sector, leading to strong buffers and a high level of financial safety indicators which the nation can now bear the fruit of at this point in time.
The proposals, which received cabinet approval, handed out to virus-impacted individuals, SMEs and economic entities.
In order to protect social security, the committee also recommended that state charity, Bait Al Zakat, provide assistance to marginally-employed and financially-affected labour, estimated at around 500,000 individuals, for food aid over a 100-day period.
The need to closely pay attention to applying appropriate policies in relation to maintaining social security, and to strengthening the role of civil society bodies in supporting these institutions was also approved.