Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), the UAE Federal export credit company, has announced the launch of ‘SME Protect’, an export trade credit solution, specifically designed for UAE-based SMEs to support their growth plans globally and assist them in entering high-growth markets.
‘SME Protect’, which will be available to exporters and re-exporters from September 1, 2019, is a cost-effective and easy to access and manage solution to move on from the limiting and traditional Letters of Credit or cash payments terms, towards the most updated sales on open credit terms.
‘SME Protect’ is aimed at easing UAE businesses to broaden their understanding of trade credit solutions and to accelerate their export business in a safe way. By providing guarantees to receivables, SMEs can now provide credit to clients without financial loss.
H.E. Engr. Saed Alawadi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Export Development Corporation, Board Member and Chairman of the Executive Committee at ECI, said: “The UAE government is committed to boosting the contribution and performance of local SMEs and has taken a leading role in establishing strategic initiatives to support funding for the sector. ECI’s newly launched ‘SME Protect’ will assist exporters and local businesses to access highly competitive global markets.”
Massimo Falcioni, CEO of ECI, said: “We are proud to launch ‘SME Protect’ for UAE businesses to support SMEs towards safer trade, and high-growth at different stages of their life cycle. The SME Protect Trade Credit solution is a result of the survey that was conducted in 2018 in co-operation with Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, and Ras Al Khaimah Chamber of Commerce. The survey showed that 97 percent SMEs still prefer Letter of Credit and cash payments whereas only 3 percent prefer selling on credit. ECI, in line with its mandate, has endeavoured to fill the gap to ease of doing business, accelerate the SME growth and sustain the non-oil foreign trade growth development in the UAE.”
Oussama Abdel Rahman Kaissi, Chief Executive Officer of ICIEC, said, “We are committed to support ECI and welcome this opportunity to partner on such a strategic initiative as SME Protect solution. ICIEC is confident that this solution will empower the small and medium-sized companies by mitigating the risks and challenges faced by these local businesses while accessing competitive markets.”
According to the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, the contribution of the SME sector to the UAE’s GDP is estimated at 53 per cent in 2019, up from about 49 per cent in 2018. The Federal government aims to increase this rate to around 60 per cent by 2021, underscoring the importance of this sector, which encompasses around 95 per cent of the firms in the country and employs 86 per cent of the total workforce in the non-oil private sector.