Post-blockade, Qatar Central Bank injected funds into local banking system; It was done very smoothly, says QIIB chief executive officer
Qatari banks have been able to maintain a very healthy balance sheet in the first quarter, thanks to the Qatar Central Bank’s (QCB) prudent monetary policy and the overall growth momentum in the country, says QIIB chief executive officer Dr Abdulbasit Ahmad al-Shaibei.
Besides achieving growth in their balance sheet, the Qatari banks have been able to do well in containing non-performing loans, al-Shaibei said in an interview with Gulf Times in Doha on Sunday.
Post-blockade, the QCB injected funds into the local banking system. That was done to help local banks pay off their liabilities and tide over the crisis due to the unjustified blockade on Qatar that was imposed on June 5, 2017.
“It was done very smoothly, without shaking the banking system. And the Qatari financial system has thus earned a lot of trust from international banks,” al-Shaibei emphasised.
He said many Qatari banks have also succeeded in “tapping other sources of funding” including bonds and sukuk from abroad.
Post-blockade, al-Shaibei said, the economy got further diversified in terms of either production (across various sectors) or finding alternative routes for exports and imports.
The non-oil economy in particular has enhanced its contribution to the national economy.
“All these had a very positive impact on the economy. The national economy maintained growth last year and is expected to perform in 2019 as well. In general, the national economy is doing very well. Definitely, favourable energy prices are a factor,” the QIIB chief executive officer said and noted “these have send a positive message to the international rating agencies”.
While geopolitics and regional instability are issues international rating agencies generally take note of, in the case of Qatar he said, “We have managed it very wise, diligently. Qatar has always played the role of a mediator – to solve problems and bring different opinions together,” the prominent Qatari banker pointed out.
Al-Shaibei said the preparations Qatar has done in right earnest in relation to the FIFA World Cup 2022 have “added more credibility” to the country.
“We managed to be on time for most projects related to FIFA World Cup 2022, either stadia or infrastructure. All these have had a positive impact on the economy,” the QIIB chief said.
He said, “Nothing will stop after 2022. While we may slow down in certain areas, we will see growth in others. This is how it works. Don’t forget the fact that the economy always go through cycles. Sometimes it could be flat, and then it could be a little bit up.”
One of Qatar’s key strengths is its vast hydrocarbon resources, he said.
“By God’s grace, we are an energy-rich country and a major producer. If the global market stays healthy, we will definitely grow. The world is our market and we are very much part of the global economy.”
“That said, we should realise the fact that Qatar is diversifying away from oil and gas. The momentum is growing. The private sector is much more active now; it is leading from the front. If we continue in that direction, we can rely on private sector as a major driver of our economy,” al-Shaibei said.
Highlighting the Qatar National Vision 2030, Dr al-Shaibei said, “We aim sustainable development as part of our vision. We are focusing on health, tourism and education among other sectors. These have tremendous growth potential. And infrastructure upgrade is a constant process. We will have to acquire and implement newer technologies as they become available.”
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