King issues new package to mitigate economic impact of coronavirus

RIYADH — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has approved on Wednesday an allocation of SR50 billion to expedite the payment of the dues of

This is part of a package of additional economic initiatives approved by the King to support mainly the private sector to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The stimulus package includes financial support, exemptions, relief measures and accelerating payment of private sector dues.

This package was announced as an extension of continuing efforts of the government to deal with impacts and consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and take all measures to confront its financial and economic impacts on the private sector.

Minister of Finance and Acting Minister of Economy and Planning Muhammad Al-Jadaan said, as part of the additional initiatives, an amount of SR50 billion was allocated to accelerate the payment of the dues of the private sector.

The King also directed to extend a discount of 30 percent in the value of the electricity bill for consumers in commercial, industrial and agricultural sectors for a two-month period of April and May, with the possibility of extension if needed.

The third initiative is optionally allowing subscribers in the industrial and commercial sector to pay 50 percent of the value of the monthly electricity bill for the months of April, May and June, provided that the remaining dues are to be collected in divided installments for a period of six months starting from January 2021 with the possibility of postponing the payment period if needed.

The King also announced supporting individuals who are working directly in the activities of passenger transport and were stopped due to precautionary measures of the coronavirus, by paying an amount of the minimum amount of salaries to them.

This support will be applicable to those individuals who are registered with Saudi Public Transport Authority (SAPTCO) and not under the umbrella of any company.

The King’s directive also included rapid implementation of Cabinet decision No. 649 dated 16 July 2019 (13 Dhul Qada 1440), which requires that companies in which the State owns more than 51 percent of its capital, to take into account the general principles and rules for offering business and purchases and give preference to local content and small and medium enterprises, which will increase the economic activities in the local market and boost demand of local products and services.

Al-Jadaan said that additional funds worth SR47 billion were allocated to the health sector in order to upgrade its readiness, secure medicines, arrange additional beds, and provide necessary medical supplies such as artificial respirators and devices and supplies of laboratory tests, as well as to hire the necessary medical and technical cadres from within the Kingdom and abroad.

Al-Jadaan thanked the King for his approval of the additional initiatives, stressing that the government has taken a number of additional precautionary measures aimed to ensure cash flow to the private sector that can be used to manage its economic activities.

These measures also would help sustain continuous work to study the effects and repercussions of the coronavirus crisis and its challenges in a number of sectors and regions, and study opportunities to address them through support or stimulus or other initiatives.

He also thanked the active role being played by all medical teams and security men, and their continuous efforts to enhance health security in the Kingdom while stressing the need to follow the instructions of the Ministry of Health to overcome this crisis with minimal material and human losses.

The minister said the additional initiatives come as an extension of the initiatives announced earlier by the King to support the private sector, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and economic activities impacted by coronavirus, with an amount of more than SR70 billion.

The initiative also included meeting 60 percent of the salaries of Saudis working in the private sector with a total value of SR9 billion through the SANED system, in addition to the support program announced by Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) for banks, financial institutions, and SMEs with an amount of SR50 billion.



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