$532mln fund to support SMEs in Saudi healthcare sector

Fund is part of a recently announced $3.1bln support program designed to mitigate the financial and economic effects of COVID-19 crisis

  
A banner with an instruction on personnel hygiene is seen at the street, following the outbreak of coronavirus, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 16, 2020. The banner reads: "Wash hands with soap and water."

A banner with an instruction on personnel hygiene is seen at the street, following the outbreak of coronavirus, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 16, 2020. The banner reads: "Wash hands with soap and water."

REUTERS/ Ahmed Yosri

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Social Development Bank has launched a SR2 billion ($530 million) “healthcare portfolio” to support established and new small and medium enterprises in the Kingdom’s healthcare sector.

The fund forms part of a recently announced SR12 billion support program designed to mitigate the financial and economic effects of COVID-19 crisis.

Under the new initiative SDB will offer swift financing solutions, with flexible funding tailored to the requirements of each beneficiary, to help SMEs in this vital sector continue to provide their services to the public, and maintain and enhance their contribution to economic growth and employment. It also supports the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 Quality of Life Program, and its long-term goals of improving medical services in the country and enhancing the global ranking of the nation’s healthcare system.

SDB CEO Ibrahim Al-Rashid said that healthcare SMEs that previously received funding from the bank experienced strong growth, while benefiting from concessional financing and business services available at 27 SDB branches across the country.

He added that the new healthcare portfolio is in line with the bank’s strategic goal of supporting the healthcare sector through the funding SMEs in 12 fields licensed by Ministry of Health: medical complexes, medical factories, specialized clinics, consultation clinics, radiology centers, one-day clinics, medical laboratories, home medical care centers, emergency medicine, rehabilitation, preventive health, and medical services).

The SR2 billion fund will help more than 1,000 new and existing SMEs to maintain essential services during this critical time, while contributing to the Kingdom’s long-term strategic objectives, Al-Rashid said.

SDB, which was established in 1971, has supported more than 2.7 million Saudi citizens by providing funding of SR107 billion to individuals and SMEs, and delivering a wide range of business-support services.

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