Saudi Arabia Spent $4.5 Billion Aiding Firms During Pandemic

The Saudi Industrial Development Fund said it provided $4.5 billion in support last year, mostly to small businesses, as the kingdom looked to prop up firms hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Loans were given to 201 businesses in the industrial, mining, energy and logistics sectors,” the fund said in a statement Thursday. The $4.5 billion included some loans not related to the global health emergency, it said.

The figures shed more light on the scale of the kingdom’s assistance for smaller companies, which also included a $20.5 billion loan deferral program put in place by the central bank.

The industrial fund, created in the 1970s, was established to provide medium and long-term loans to the private industrial sector. In June, it launched initiatives worth about $1 billion to support more than 500 industrial businesses hurt by the virus. It included deferment and restructuring of loan installments.

The SIDF began financing energy, logistics and mining projects in the kingdom in 2019.

Ibrahim Almojel, chief executive officer of SIDF, said the fund would continue its contributions this year, “aiming to attract investments and transform the kingdom into a leading industrial powerhouse and a global logistics hub.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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