Coronavirus: Network International allots $1.36mln to aid struggling businesses in UAE

SMEs severely impacted by outbreak to get cash assistance

Dubai skyline contains its fair share of architectural novelties and distinctive silhouettes. Dubai Media office twitter account.

Dubai skyline contains its fair share of architectural novelties and distinctive silhouettes. Dubai Media office twitter account.

Network International has allocated 5 million UAE dirhams ($1.36 million) to help businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The payments processor said on Tuesday that it is aware that some of its merchant partners have been bearing the brunt of the health crisis, which has so far infected more than 420,000 people and forced governments around the world to either shut or tighten their borders and urge citizens to stay home.

Analysts have said that the numerous lockdowns, flight cancellations and quarantine measures are costing businesses billions of US dollars in lost revenues.

Relief measures

To provide temporary relief to some entrepreneurs in the UAE, Network International said it will be distributing cash to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that have been severely impacted by the pandemic, adding that it will put in place some “relief measures” over the next few months.

Minimum transaction fees have also been waived for all merchant clients in the UAE across all industries for the next three months.

“As concerns around the global COVID-19 pandemic evolve, we recognise that some of our merchant partners have been severely impacted by this extraordinary situation and we are standing by those that need us most, with immediate and practical relief measures over the next few months,” Samer Soliman, managing director for Network International’s Middle East operations said.

The support follows the stimulus packages launched this month by the UAE government to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus on the economy.

The total value of stimulus packages introduced by the UAE since the coronavirus outbreak has amounted to 126.5 billion UAE dirhams.

Financial assistance

Network International said at least 1,000 of its merchant clients operating in the SME sector will be the first to benefit from the cash assistance. These clients will each receive 3,673 dirhams.

“Our cash support will offer these businesses much needed liquidity to help relieve the stress on their cash flow so they can carry on operations,” Soliman added.

New small business users of Network International’s internet payment gateway, N-GeniusTM Online, will also benefit from 0 percent merchant service fees over the next 3 months.

The UAE has implemented a series of precautionary measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Schools, malls, cafes and restaurants have been shut, while all inbound, outbound and transit flights have been temporarily cancelled, as residents are being urged to stay indoors or observe social distancing.

(Writing by Gerard Aoun; editing by Cleofe Maceda)

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