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Saudi Arabia extends measures to ease economic impact of virus

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Saudi Arabia extends measures to ease economic impact of virus

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil-exporting nation, on Thursday extended government measures to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, the Saudi state news agency SPA reported.

According to SPA, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has ordered an extension of the government “initiatives” for an unspecified additional period.

“This move builds on urgent government measures that support individuals, investors and private businesses; as well as alleviate financial and economic consequences of the novel coronavirus,” it said.

In March, the Saudi Government had first unveiled an economic stimulus package to curb the impact of the crisis on the country’s vital private sector.

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The measures, however, focused on helping Saudis retain their jobs in private businesses, delaying the collection of government fees and providing financial exemptions.

In May, Saudi Arabia announced austerity measures to prop up its economy hit by low oil prices and the economic fallout of the pandemic.

The measures include: tripling the value-added (VAT) tax to 15 per cent, a hike that went into effect in the monarchy on Wednesday.

So far, Saudi Arabia has reported more than 194,000 coronavirus cases, the largest number in the Arab world, and 1,698 deaths.

In recent years, the country has pursued reforms aimed at diversifying its oil-reliant economy.(dpa/NAN)

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