*SSP aims to enhance financial sector regulations, strengthen market and liquidity infrastructure
The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) on Tuesday unveiled its five-pronged second strategic plan (SSP), which includes enhancing financial sector regulations as well as strengthening market and liquidity infrastructure to ensure a safe, sound and solid financial future for the country.
The major thrust of SSP, which is an improvement over the first strategic plan of 2013-16, is to create a regulatory framework that fosters growth, which is “inclusive and sustainable”, promotes innovation and financial technology whilst dealing with the issues of cyber-security.
The plan, which seeks to harness the benefits of financial technology and green financing, aims at maintaining integrity of and confidence in the financial system, promoting financial inclusion and financial literacy and developing human capital.
“The SSP will act as a roadmap to guide us in our future endeavours towards building a sound and resilient financial sector. In the process, we will continuously learn and adapt to emerging economic developments and challenges, while ensuring that the objective of the strategic plan are always taken on board,” HE the QCB Governor Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud al-Thani said.
On enhancing financial regulation, the SPP is aimed at not only safeguarding financial stability and ensuring long-term sustainable growth but also maintaining price stability.
On developing financial markets, the plan would facilitate larger contribution of financial institutions and markets to ensure inclusive growth.
With more than 90% of the individuals in Qatar using the internet in 2016 compared to the global average of 46% and a slightly smaller percentage in the Arab world, this provides a solid base on which to leverage the technology platform.
“This (goal) will also harness the benefits of fintech and green financing and create an environment that facilitate innovation in the financial sector whilst minimising the impact of any disruption,” according to the SSP.
Stressing that Qatar is committed to combating illicit financing, the QCB said it would ensure that financial sector information and infrastructure is protected and safeguarded from cyber incidents and this has been enshrined in one of the key goals of the SSP.
“The focus of this goal (of maintaining integrity and confidence in the financial system) will also support the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee’s AML/CFT strategy and implementation of the new financial sector information security strategy to mitigate cybercrime,” the SSP said.
On promoting financial inclusion and literacy, the SSP said it is anticipated that exploiting financial innovation and the growing digitisation and robotisation of financial operations will enable the financial sector to reach out in an easy and cost-effective manner to customers and investors across all categories,”
In this regard, the SSP highlighted that the number of bank branches per 100,000 people – a measure of demographic financial inclusion – increased by nearly 60% during 2009-16, while geographical financial inclusion – the number of bank branches per 1,000 sq km – expanded by roughly 10% during the same period.
Highlighting that over 80% of the population are within the working age group (15-64 years) that provides a key resource for long-term sustainable growth, the SSP said it is important to augment capacity, talent and leadership not just at the level of any individual organisation but more broadly the financial sector.