UAE government increases stimulus to Dh126bn

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid says measures will be taken to reduce the cost of business and support small companies

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The UAE government increased its stimulus package to Dh126 billion ($34bn) on Sunday to help offset the impact of the coronavirus, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai announced on Twitter.

"We approved an additional support package of Dh16bn," Sheikh Mohammed said. "We approved new measures to cut the cost of doing business, support small businesses and accelerate major infrastructure projects."

In addition to being a global pandemic, the coronavirus is "an economic virus, a political virus and we say to countries globally this is the time for unity, cooperation and solidarity to fight the most important enemy of humanity," Sheikh Mohammed added.

"All differences are dwarfed in front of this new challenge and the world can overcome it faster if the strong stand with the weak and the rich with the poor."

The increase in stimulus follows a slew of other initiatives and and aid rolled out by the government and private sector this month.

On Saturday, banks in Dubai said they will offer their customers and clients loan repayment holidays and reduced charges to help soften the impact of Covid-19 on their finances and relieve economic pressure.

The pandemic is the greatest challenge to the global economy since the 2008 financial crisis and has wiped at least $17 trillion (Dh62.44tn) from stock markets worldwide. It has disrupted global supply chains, brought the travel and tourism sector almost to a grinding halt.

Emirates NBD, the biggest bank by assets in Dubai along with UAE’s largest Sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates Islamic, Mashreq and Commercial Bank of Dubai have announced a series of support measures that will remain in effect for three months starting April 1, the Dubai government media office said on Saturday.

The measures follow the Central Bank of the UAE's Dh100bn stimulus unveiled earlier this month, and separate packages from the Abu Dhabi and Dubai government that entail reduced or exempted fees for a range of services. The UAE, the second-biggest Arab economy, joined governments and central banks around the world in announcing emergency economic packages and safety measures, to contain the spread of the coronavirus and soften the impact on their economies.