The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has extended the deferred payment program to help the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are struggling with the pandemic.
According to SAMA, the program, one of the bank’s initiatives to support private sector financing, will be extended for another three months from July 1 to September 30.
The move is part of the central bank’s mission in keeping the financial sector stable, allowing it to stimulate economic growth and maintain employment levels in the private sector, particularly among micro and small businesses.
Since its launch in March 2020, the program has benefited over 106,000 contracts, with the total value of deferred payments for those contracts totaling around $44.5 billion (SR167 billion), as per the reports.
SAMA has also provided a secured financing program for SMEs as more than 5,282 contracts have benefited from that program with a total financing value of more than $2 billion (SR10 billion), according to a statement from the bank.
These programs are intended to help the private sector and the levels of liquidity in the financial sector. They allow financial institutions to provide assistance while limiting the economic and financial impact on the SME sector, the central bank further added.
This is the second time SAMA has extended the two programs to support SMEs. Last March, it has extended the deferred payment program for another three months, as well as the guaranteed financing scheme until March 14, 2022.
Recently, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revealed that Saudi Arabia’s economy is expected to grow 2.1 percent this year and 4.8 percent in 2022 after contracting 4.1 percent last year.