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Qatar

Government and institution measures in response to COVID-19.

Government and institution measures in response to COVID-19.

Return to homepage  |  Last updated: 3 June, 2020

General Information

Qatar has focused on taking tax measures and developing infrastructure to enable people to better work and/or study remotely.

They are also focusing on developing infrastructure to minimize the spread of the coronavirus and are prepared to accommodate at least 18,000 people in a quarantine compound, if needed.

Qatar government announced yesterday its partnership with Microsoft to implement modern workplace solutions such as Microsoft Teams to enhance productivity by empowering its workforce to work remotely. The move will foster communication and collaboration amongst government entities to ensure uninterrupted delivery of services to businesses and citizens.

Tax measures – Direct and Indirect

(e.g. payment deferrals, rate reductions…)

Click here to see a comprehensive summary of jurisdictional tax measures and government reliefs in response to COVID-19.

Employment-related measures

(e.g. state compensation schemes, training…)

The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour & Social Affairs released an official statement directed to the employers and workers, affirming the importance of cooperation during this period to mitigate social and economic damage
  • Employers continue to pay basic salaries and other allowances, such as food and housing, as per their contract in sectors, activities and services whose businesses have not stopped due to the precautionary measures to combat the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • For the sectors that have followed government instructions to cease services due to the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), employers and workers can agree that workers take unpaid leave, apply their annual leave, or reduce working hours, as follows:
    • In cases where employers provide food and / or housing directly, they must continue to provide food and housing free of charge to workers. Employers and workers cannot agree to cancel or reduce these benefits.
  • The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour & Social Affairs has launched the Digital Authentication System for Multi-lingual Employment Contract, which aims to offer an integrated digital alternative for authenticating employment contracts in companies.
    • In cases where employers offer food and / or housing allowances, they must continue to provide these allowances, and employers and workers cannot agree to cancel or reduce these allowances.
  • All workers who are isolated or quarantined who are receiving treatment shall receive their basic salary and allowances regardless of whether they are entitled to sick leave or not.
  • Employers may terminate employment contracts, based on the contract concluded between them and in full compliance with the provisions of the Labor Law, while adhering to the notice period and paying all outstanding benefits, including the return ticket.
  • Even in cases where workers’ contracts are terminated, employers are required to provide workers with adequate food and housing free of charge, or equivalent cash allowances, until the workers’ repatriation procedures are secured at the employer's expense.

Customs Measures

Duty relief

  • Customs duty exemption for food, medical equipment (COVID-19):the General Authority of Customs in addressing the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has issued a directive exempting food and medical equipment from customs duties for a period of six months
  • The exemption from customs duty applies for 905 different items listed in the customs clearance system. These included basic food items and a number of medical devices

Economic stimulus measures

(e.g. loans, moratorium on debt repayments…)

  • Leading Telecom companies like Ooredoo and Vodafone have contributed to the Government’s effort to ensure the safety of people by improving the capacity of the existing infrastructure to ensure everyone is better connected while working from home, focusing on doubling the internet speed without any extra charges.
  • MoEHE has announced the use of Microsoft Teams and Learning Management System (LMS) applications to enable schools and education institutions to interact with students and parents and deliver digital content to ensure a smooth educational process during these times of crisis
  • Upon the directives of Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to support the economic and financial sector within the framework of the precautionary measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19) and H H the Amir’s directives to support and provide financial and economic incentives, amounting to QR75bn for the private sector, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior H E Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, directed to allocate guarantees to local banks at an amount of QR3bn.
  • Qatar Finance and Business Academy (QFBA) launched an initiative called "Azm" to empower businesses in times of crisis, aiming at training and assisting talented and promising entrepreneurs from the Qatari community to reduce the key strategic risks associated with the coronavirus on the financial sector, and facilitating the adoption of the best risk management practices by companies, during the current global crisis.
  • Governor of Qatar Central Bank (QCB), H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Saoud Al Thani has launched the “Qatar Mobile Payment System” (QMP), which provides a new and safe method for immediate electronic payment, after completing the infrastructure and all the requirements of the central system for electronic payment at the State level, according to international best practices in the field of mobile payment services.

Other measures and sources

  • The Ministry of Public Health launched Sunday a new online service to pay the fees for food certificates, food waste or food analysis issued through its website. 
  • Installing Ehteraz app in mobile phones compulsory for all
  • HMC implements innovative solutions to provide physiotherapy services under Covid-19 pandemic
  • The “Better Connections” programme, a nationwide initiative targeted at improving the wellbeing of expatriate workers in Qatar, has surpassed its pre-set target of 1.5 million beneficiaries by providing digital inclusion opportunities, to 1,679,000 beneficiaries, within a five year time-frame since its launch.
  • Cisco joins CRA’s initiative to make remote work easy, secure
  • Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has announced guidelines for medication delivery through Qatar Post, yesterday. Patients can order their medication by calling 16000, select language, press 3 for HMC, and then 2 for medication delivery, HMC said on its social media accounts.
  • The Ministry of Commerce and Industry said that the second phase of mask distribution through pharmacies would begin from today. Residents can buy masks from select pharmacies by showing their Qatar IDs. An individual can get a maximum of 20 masks for QR40.
  • Qatar Airways helps Canadian, Australian and Georgian nationals reach home
    Mental Support Service launched to assist Qatar residents in dealing with COVID-19 anxiety

Main sources of information:

Contact us

Tax & Legal: Barbara Henzen – bhenzen@kpmg.com

Digital & Innovation: Devesh Vijay – deveshv@kpmg.com