Saudi Arabia seeks $8bn global contributions to combat coronavirus

RIYADH — The Council of Ministers on Tuesday reiterated Saudi Arabia’s call on all countries, non-governmental organizations, charity foundations and the private sector companies to take part in the global efforts to bridge the gap in the financing, estimated to be over $8 billion, to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman chaired the Cabinet’s virtual session in Riyadh.

In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency following the session, Acting Minister of Media Majed Al-Qasabi said the Cabinet hailed the Kingdom’s contribution of $500 million to support global efforts in combating the pandemic, as well as to enhance preparedness and response to emergency situations; develop and deploy new diagnostic tools, therapeutics and vaccines; fulfill unmet needs for international surveillance and coordination, and ensure sufficient supplies of protective equipment for health workers.

At the outset of the session, the King thanked and praised Almighty Allah for His blessings bestowed on all Muslims on the advent of the holy month of Ramadan, describing it as the month of mercy, forgiveness, and emancipation from Hell. He prayed God to help all in fasting, praying, and performing good deeds in this holy month and to eliminate all harms being caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic to the Muslim Ummah as well as to the entire world.

After reviewing all reports and latest developments related to coronavirus at local and international levels and registered cases in the Kingdom, Al-Qasabi said, the Cabinet was reassured about exerted efforts by relevant authorities to achieve highest levels of safety and health of citizens and expatriates in line with the directives of King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.

The Cabinet was briefed on efforts to facilitate the return of citizens from abroad and ensuring their safety upon arrival in the Kingdom in accordance with highest standards. It also appreciated the King and the Crown Prince for their support for all sectors, as well as their close follow-up and utmost keenness to protect all citizens and expatriates, with providing all necessary means for their wellbeing and welfare.

Al-Qasabi said Cabinet lauded the King’s directive to support the private sector and individuals and raise the health sector’s readiness with allocation of SR50 billion to expedite the payment of dues of the private sector, provision of 30 percent discount on electricity bills for commercial, industrial and agricultural sectors, and allowing the payment of 50 percent of their value for industrial and commercial sectors. The royal order also included paying the minimum salaries of individuals working in passenger transport sector.

The Cabinet commended allocation of additional funds to the health sector, with a total amount of SR47 billion, in order to enhance its readiness as well as to make available medicines and additional beds, and provide necessary medical supplies. It viewed that the additional grant a part of the Kingdom’s continuous efforts in dealing with effects and repercussions of coronavirus pandemic, maintaining the stability of the national economy and enhancing confidence in its strength.

Al-Qasabi said the Cabinet reiterated the Kingdom’s keenness to achieve stability in the global oil market and its commitment to maintaining supply cuts for the next two years with Russia. He said both the countries are continuing to monitor oil market situations closely and are prepared to take further measures jointly with OPEC+ and other producers.

The Cabinet has approved a framework agreement for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy between the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It also endorsed a guiding format for a cooperation agreement for the arrival of Haj and Umrah pilgrims between the Saudi government and targeted countries benefiting from the Makkah Route Initiative, with authorizing Minister of Interior or his deputy to negotiate and sign draft agreement for this with competent authorities from these countries.

 

Source: http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/592159/SAUDI-ARABIA/Saudi-Arabia-seeks-$8bn-global-contributions-to-combat-coronavirus

 

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