The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has reportedly approved an additional stimulus package aimed at alleviating the economic fallout caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on the private sector.
According to local media reports, Saudi Arabia's King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz has approved a package worth 50 billion Saudi riyal (approximately $13.3 billion) to fast-track the payment of dues owed to the private sector.
Saudi's 50 billion stimulus package
The latest stimulus package also includes financial support and exemptions for the private sector, according to the kingdom's newly appointed Minister of Economy and Planning Muhammad Al Jadaan.
"The government has taken a number of additional precautionary measures aimed at providing cash liquidity for the private sector to use it in managing its economic activities, and constantly works to study the impact of the coronavirus crisis on a number of sectors," the minister was quoted as saying.
Exemptions in electricity bills
The new package also includes exemptions, including a 30 percent discount in the value of electricity bills for commercial, industrial and agricultural sectors for a period of two months, with possible extension, the Saudi Energy Ministry said.
Saudi's big stimulus package
Meanwhile, the latest allocations are part of a 70 billion riyal (approximately $18.6 billion) aid earmarked by Saudi Arabia to support small and medium-scale industries impacted by the virus.
Earlier this month, King Salman has already allocated 9 billion riyal (approximately $2.3 billion) as part of a package designed to absorb some of the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the kingdom's private sector. The package was issued to take care of a part of the salaries of Saudi citizens working in the private sector.
3,400 school buildings will be used as alternative housing
In another development, the Saudi Education ministry has allocated over 3,400 school and educational institution buildings throughout the kingdom to serve as alternative housing to shelter workers who live in cramped accommodation. The kingdom's health ministry had announced that it is seeing a growing number of coronavirus infections in densely packed and overcrowded labour camps and housing in the country.
Saudi Arabia coronavirus cases
As of Friday, April 17, the Saudi Health Ministry has confirmed 6,380 cases of COVID-19 infection, 83 fatalities and 990 recoveries. Saudi Arabia has the highest number of confirmed cases among the six GCC nations and the rate of daily infections in the country has been spiralling upwards of 400 cases per day for six consecutive days.