Saudi Arabia supports COVID-19 hit SMEs with $1 billion relief package

The kingdom has expressed a keen interest in growing its manufacturing and industrial sectors to reduce its dependency on oil.

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Saudi Arabia’s financial division, Saudi Industrial Development Fund has allotted a $1 billion stimulus package to revive more than 500 struggling small and medium-sized industrial companies affected by COVID-19 pandemic. 

The action is part of a wider package of governmental support and includes the postponement and restructuring of loan payments for hundreds of businesses. The fund will also provide a line-of-credit to partially bankroll up to three months of operating expenses for qualified companies, and will “continue to explore solutions that will support the private sector,” it said in a statement.

Enterprises and other smaller units are fighting hard to stay alive after steps to check the spread of the virus along with historic turbulence in global oil markets, have strangled the Saudi economy.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is anticipated to contract the most this year compared to any in the last two decades. The kingdom had put a special focus on growing its manufacturing and industrial sectors in recent years as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to lower its dependence on oil.