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Tue 16 Jun 2020 02:50 PM

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Saudi to offer $1bn stimulus package for SMEs

Initiatives include the deferral and restructuring of loan payments for companies

Saudi to offer $1bn stimulus package for SMEs

The fund will offer lines of credit to partly finance up to three months of operating expenses for qualified companies.

Saudi Arabia will offer a 3.7 billion riyal ($1bn) stimulus package to support more than 500 small and medium-sized industrial companies hurt by the novel coronavirus.

The initiatives, announced by the Saudi Industrial Development Fund, are part of a wider package of governmental support, and include the deferral and restructuring of loan payments for hundreds of companies, according to a statement from the fund.

The fund will also offer lines of credit to partly finance up to three months of operating expenses for qualified companies, and will “continue to explore solutions that will support the private sector”, it said.

Businesses across the world’s largest oil exporter are struggling to stay afloat after measures to slow the spread of the virus, coupled with historic turmoil in global oil markets, have upended the economy.

Gross domestic product is expected to shrink the most in two decades this year. The kingdom had put a particular focus on developing its manufacturing and industrial sectors in recent years as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to reduce dependency on oil.

Saudi Arabia has the most confirmed cases of coronavirus in the GCC (132,048), while on Monday, the kingdom’s death toll broke through the 1,000 barrier, with 1,011 Covid-19-related fatalities in the country.

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