As countries around the world continue to draft new initiatives and plans to deal with the mounting Coronavirus threats that has devastated economies in its wake, we have seen GCC countries come up with solutions of their own.
Now, Abu Dhabi is among the GCC’s latest to reveal its own countermeasures, according to a report by te Emirates News Agency (WAM).
On Monday, 16th of March, the Abu Dhabi Executive Council announced a dynamic economic stimulus package which fast-tracks the implementation of key Ghadan 21 economic initiatives to support economic activity, reduce the costs of living, and facilitate business in the emirate.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, affirmed that the newly launched stimulus package in Abu Dhabi and those launched recently by the UAE Central Bank and local governments provide a solid foundation to accelerate and advance the economy, as well as protect the UAE’s economic stability.
16 initiatives were announced in total. Among those are an allocation of AED 5 billion for water and electricity subsidies for citizens and the commercial and industrial sectors, intended to reduce the cost of living and support businesses, as well as subsidising electricity connection fees for startups until the end of the year.
For SMEs, an additional AED 3 billion has been allocated to the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme managed by Abu Dhabi Investment Office, ADIO, to stimulate the ability of SMEs to navigate the current market environment. As for the financial markets, the Executive Council has allocated AED 1 billion to establish a market maker fund, to enhance liquidity and sustain balance between supply and demand for stocks.
Other initiatives announced today include exemption of all commercial and industrial activities from Tawtheeq fees, as well as exempting individual and commercial real estate registration fees for this year, suspension of bid bonds, and exempting startups of performance guarantees for projects up to AED 50 million.
Abu Dhabi joins the UAE Central Bank and Saudi Arabia
With this stimulus package, Abu Dhabi joins the UAE Central Bank and Saudi government in drafting countermeasures to combat the Coronavirus’ impact on GCC economies.
On Saturday, March 14th, the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) drafted an AED 100 billion ($27.2 billion) economic stimulus package,
“Given that the World Health Organisation has declared Covid-19 virus as a global pandemic, the Central Bank of the UAE has adopted a number of measures in an effort to support the economy and protect consumers,” CBUAE said.
The Central Bank said it “confirms continued and strong commitment” to maintain the peg of the UAE dirham to the US dollar, as per The National. Foreign currency reserves stand at more than Dh405bn as of March 10 and are “are adequate to safeguard the stability of the national currency and achieve the CBUAE’s objective to ensure monetary and financial stability in the state”.
As for Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom announced a similar stimulus package, valued at SAR 50 billion ($13.3 billion). The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) unveiled the economic stimulus package to support the private sector, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to reduce the potential economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak, as per the Saudi Gazette.