Saudi’s National Development Fund provides $7.46bn in domestic Covid-related support

The National Development Fund of Saudi Arabia has reported the local economy at more than 28 billion Saudi riyals (7.46 billion -run Saudi Press Agency) since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The fund supported health and education institutions through the initiatives of the Social Development Bank and the kafala program, and arranged the restructuring of loans for small, medium and large medical projects by the Saudi Industrial Development Fund, SPA said on Saturday.

“The development system [launched by the NDF] aims to support private sector employment, improve the skills and funding of individuals and enable self-employment through the initiatives of the Human Resources Development Fund and the Social Development Bank,” the agency said.

“The system also assisted the agricultural sector in stimulating small and medium-sized enterprises and facilitating the import of agricultural products through the Agricultural Development Fund’s initiatives.”

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Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the Arab world, has unveiled various initiatives to support local economies since the pandemic began in 2020.

These include a 3.7 billion riyal stimulus package to support companies in the industrial sector hit by the pandemic and 50 billion riyals to speed up payments to the private sector.

The kingdom’s central bank also pumped 50 billion riyals into its banking sector to boost liquidity and improve the lending capacity of financial institutions as part of efforts to support the sector amid the pandemic. It also provided 70 billion riyals to support businesses and deferred some government fees and taxes.

The NDF has also extended its support to sectors such as Hajj and Umrah, sports, supply chain and aviation – which in particular have faced “unprecedented and exacerbated impacts” due to flight cancellations and airport closures since the outbreak of the pandemic, SPA said.

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The support provided by the fund included more than 350,000 people and 36,000 large, medium, small and micro businesses.

“The National Development Fund and its affiliates continue their role in enhancing confidence in the economy by alleviating the pressure on the Treasury through development finance, acting as an effective tool in managing economic fluctuations and driving continued growth in the Kingdom’s economy to achieve the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030,” SPA said.

The NDF, with assets worth 496 billion riyals, was established in 2017 to oversee economic development funding in several of the kingdom’s ministries.

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It oversees the activities of its development funds and banks and coordinates strategies to improve their performance and support economic priorities in line with Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the Kingdom’s economy.

The fund has pumped more than 690 billion riyals through its subsidiaries since its inception and is “one of the largest development finance funds” in terms of assets to gross domestic product ratio in the G20 group, the SPA reported in March.

The fund aims to triple the kingdom’s non-oil GDP to 605 billion rials by 2030 and contribute more than 570 billion rials to the kingdom’s real GDP growth.

Updated September 18, 2022 at 7:55 am

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