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Initiatives to help SMEs confront pandemic

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The Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development (riyada) said that the pandemic has changed the map of sales and shopping for companies. It has accelerated the transformation processes towards online sales, and has highlighted virtual shopping tours, and provides wider options in electronic payment operations.

“The pandemic also highlighted pre-scheduling of customer appointments in the application of physical distancing and reducing waiting time in queues, as well as it has enhanced communication with customers via e-mail during closed hours to show support and sympathy during the pandemic,” it said.

The authority has launched a special initiative to provide consultations targeting small and medium enterprises most affected by the pandemic, in order to support these institutions to overcome the challenges.

Through this initiative, the Authority provides legal consultations in commercial and civil issues, administrative operations, review of contracts and agreements. It also provides financial consultations in financial management, tax returns and value-added tax in addition to administrative consultations in crisis management, marketing, work plans, human resources management, supply chain management and quality management.

Riyada conditioned for applicants for consultations that the project should be affected by the pandemic, and should be updated in the Authority’s database.

To confront the Pandemic economically, the government has put in place a set of monetary and financial measures to provide liquidity, reduce the cost of borrowing and ensure the continuity of credit provision to the affected sectors. The Central Bank urged commercial banks to postpone the repayment of private-sector loans for a period of six months to support their recovery. The government has also adopted some measures to help SMEs, including manpower support, deferment of payments (such as taxes, rent, utility payments, etc.), and provision of interest-free loans from the Development Bank.

According to the National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the total number of micro, small and medium enterprises registered with riyada at the end of May 2021 reached 53,166, an increase of 20.3 per cent compared to the same period in 2020.

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