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Mon 16 Mar 2020 02:15 PM

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Abu Dhabi unveils multi-billion dirham plan to lessen impact of virus

Directed by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi Executive Council revealed a total of 16 new initiatives

Abu Dhabi unveils multi-billion dirham plan to lessen impact of virus

The fast-tracked Ghadan 21 initiatives will be implemented immediately in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi on Monday announced a number of new initiatives aimed at supporting businesses during the current crisis surrounding the new coronavirus.

Directed by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi Executive Council revealed a total of 16 new initiatives.

The fast-tracked Ghadan 21 initiatives will be implemented immediately and will enable Abu Dhabi to "adapt swiftly to both current and future challenges", according to a statement on Twitter.

They follow the UAE central bank's announcement last week to roll out a AED100 billion package to support its banks as it seeks to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus.

The initiatives include no annual registration fees for commercial vehicles, no toll gate tariffs for all vehicles and no real estate registration fees for the remainder of 2020.

Abu Dhabi Executive Council has also announced that it will offer AED5 billion of subsidies for water and electricity for citizens and commercial and industrial activities plus subsidies for electricity connection fees for SMEs.

An AED3 billion for SME credit guarantee programme has also been set up while performance guarantees for projects up to AED50 million have been waived for start-ups for this year.

Abu Dhabi also said a new committee has been established to review lending options to support local companies.

Other initiatives include an up to 20 percent rebate on rentals for the restaurant, tourism and entertainment sectors while tourism and municipality fees for tourism and entertainment sectors have been suspended this year.

A AED1 billion market maker fund to enhance liquidity and sustain balance between supply and demand for stocks on Abu Dhabi Securities Market has also been set up.

The move comes as the UAE announced 12 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday as the number of people diagnosed with the virus throughout the Middle East passed through the 15,000 mark.

The cases came to light after the individuals were tested upon arrival to the country. It is reported that they had come into contact with people who had tested positive for the virus and are now in quarantine.

It takes the number of cases in the UAE up to 98.

Earlier on Monday, Bahrain reported the Gulf region's first death related to the virus.

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