DUBAI (Reuters) — The United Arab Emirates (UAE) central bank has urged commercial lenders to use the US$70 billion-worth of capital and liquidity measures launched by the regulator to support the economy during the coronavirus outbreak.
The UAE, which as of April 12 had registered 4,123 virus cases, has sought to stem the spread of the disease by bringing vital sectors such as tourism and transport to a near halt.
To offset that, the central bank has announced over the past few weeks measures worth $70 billion to guarantee liquidity in the banking system, so banks can support private sector corporations, small enterprises and individuals.
Since the launch of the support scheme on March 14, the central bank has provided 10 billion dirhams ($2.72 billion) to banks in the form of zero interest funding and over 61 billion dirhams in the form of lowered cash reserve requirements, it said in a statement late on Sunday.
Such funds “are to be deployed to directly benefit companies and consumers who have been adversely impacted by the pandemic,” it said.
“We urge banks and financial institutions to act in the best interest of retail clients, private sector corporates and SMEs (small and medium enterprises), which are the growth engine of our economy,” governor Abdulhamid Saeed said in the statement.
He urged banks that had not yet confirmed their participation in the scheme to do so at the earliest.
Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by Sam Holmes
Image: General view of the ADNOC headquarters (L) and Emirates Towers (R) are seen in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, December 23, 2018. (REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed)