The number of credit accounts opened by "small business and individuals" bettered all credit accounts opened by Qatar's banking sector last year, a Qatar Central Bank report has shown.
“This indicates existence of a positive momentum for the SME sector in Qatar,” the QCB said in its 10th Financial Stability Review.
The development of the SME sector in Qatar received “further boost” after the economic blockade, the QCB noted.
The public-private partnership initiatives by the government with an aim to achieve economic diversification in the country provided the required momentum for the development of the sector.
Qatar Development Bank was entrusted with the responsibility of developing and supporting SMEs in the non-hydrocarbons sector.
QDB offered all kinds of possible support under a wide range of products and services, to establish and promote such businesses, which include providing easy access to financing.
“Single window’ initiative, which allows investors quick access to all the needful facilities to own a factory within 72 hours played a significant role as potential investors receive the licences and other facilities such as land plots and financing through QDB very quickly.
The report said that empirical analysis shows that financial inclusion and increased access to finance have potential to support the economic growth. In high advanced economies, each percentage point improvement in financial inclusion can increase growth by 0.09 percentage points, according to the International Monetary Fund’s 2018 estimate .
The IMF study also notes that the growth benefit in GCC counties in terms of annual per capita growth is anywhere between 0.3 to 0.7 percentage points.
In order to further increase the financial inclusion benefits, the study notes that, GCC countries should focus on SME sector developments.
A key measure for enhancing the SME sector access to finance is strengthening regulatory framework so that financial sector is encouraged to provide improved access to finance to the SME sector, the QCB said.
According to the report, the primary aim of the QDB is to contribute to the diversification of the Qatari economy through facilitation of development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Fully owned by the Government, “QDB aims to make Qatari SMEs globally competitive” through financing, developing skills and capabilities, promoting exports, and providing opportunities domestically and globally.
It also facilitates real estate development and provides housing loans to citizens.
With renewed thrust on diversification of the economy and growth of SMEs, the balance sheet of QDB has been recording rapid expansion in the past few years.
QDB’s total assets increased from QR10.2bn in end-2017 to QR11bn in 2018. The increase in total assets during 2018 was largely due to growth in credit facilities.
Reflecting the recovery in the growth of the economy and the greater thrust on development of SMEs, growth in loans provided by QDB recovered from 13.5% in 2017 to 16.9% in 2018, the report said.
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