SAMA pledges financial support for those hit by coronavirus crisis

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has pledged to support people living in the Kingdom who lose their jobs as a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 29 March 2020

SAMA pledges financial support for those hit by coronavirus crisis

  • Statement said it was important for banks to commit to supporting their customers

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has pledged to support people living in the Kingdom who lose their jobs as a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis – offering financial support for any charges incurred as a result. 

“The measures taken include supervisory measures and their preventive policies to tackle the impact of coronavirus. This aims to support the banks during these difficult times and help them focus on providing their customers with the best banking services to meet their financial needs,” the Authority clarified.

The statement added that it was important for banks to commit to supporting their customers, so that they can withstand the impact of the virus, as well as support the private sector as its cash flow falls.

These means include supporting and financing the private sector through preventive measures that benefit the customer, the bank and the economy, the statement added. 

The SAMA said this would be achieved by adjusting or restructuring existing funds without incurring any additional expenses or fees on banks. 

The aim is to also sustain their activities and adopt and implement the plans of their private sector customers to preserve the employment rates of the affected enterprises. 

Rates will be preserved by providing the enterprises’ financing needs, supporting the individual customers that have lost their jobs in the private sector and exempting all customers, for at least six months, from e-transaction fees, minimum balance fees and from any fees imposed on refinancing operations or on terminating existing agreements.

The reassessment of interest rates and other fees on credit cards for current and new customers will be reviewed in line with the current decrease of interest rates due to the economic situation. The fees on foreign money exchange will be refunded to customers wishing to cancel their transactions. Those who cancel travel-related bookings made on credit cards, Mada debit cards or prepaid cards will also be refunded.

“SAMA is following up on the development of the coronavirus-related impact on various economic sectors including the banking and financial sector. It will provide the required assistance to maintain the safety and stability of the financial sector and enable it to support and finance the activities of other economic sectors,” the Authority stressed, highlighting the importance of banks following up on all the development and challenges and the extent of their impact on the available capital, liquidity and other financial safety indicators.


Pilgrims to quarantine for 14 days after Hajj

More than 41,361 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours. (SPA)
Updated 04 August 2020

Pilgrims to quarantine for 14 days after Hajj

  • COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia continue to fall, officials say

JEDDAH: Pilgrims who took part in this year’s Hajj must continue wearing electronic tags so authorities can track their 14-day quarantine once they return home.

The bracelet is designed to monitor pilgrims’ adherence to quarantine, as well as monitoring and recording their health status through the “Tatamman” app.
Pilgrims were required to quarantine before embarking on the Hajj and wore the bracelets to ensure they were obeying the self-isolation rules as part of strict measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The country continues to experience a decline in COVID-19 cases. Recorded infections remain below the 2,000 mark for the 10th day in a row. The Kingdom reported 1,258 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, raising the number of those infected to 280,093 so far.
There are currently 35,091 active cases and six patients were admitted to critical care units, raising the number to 2,017. There were 32 new fatalities, raising the death toll to 2,949.
There were 1,972 new recoveries recorded, raising the total number of recoveries to 242,053.
More than 41,361 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours. The total number of PCR tests conducted to date exceeds 3.47 million.

INNUMBERS

280,093 COVID-19 cases

242,053 Recoveries

35,091 Active cases

2,949 Total deaths

3.47m PCR tests

The Ministry of Health has been carrying out daily visits to health institutions in order to assess their level of commitment to anti-coronavirus measures, such as ensuring that staff adhere to social distancing, wear masks, and adopt the health practices and crisis management mechanisms recommended by authorities to protect patients and staff.
Teams have been dispatched to supervise the compliance of health facilities’ quarantine centers across Saudi Arabia and stepped up their visits to government and private hospitals to ensure their compliance with health protocols, sample transfers and staff testing as well as ensuring that all routine surgeries are stopped.
More than 5,000 violations have been recorded and violators were referred to committees. More than 150 facilities were temporarily shut down by the ministry until the proper protocols were implemented and the violations were fixed. A number of institutions were able to resume operations after settling fines.