Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) contribute significantly in areas such as innovation, efficiency, job creation and international competitiveness, all of which are key to Qatar’s economic diversification, points out QIB chief executive officer Bassel Gamal.
Citing figures provided by the QDB, he said more than 96% of the private sector businesses registered in Qatar are classified as SMEs. A number of government initiatives are providing increasing opportunities to both local and international smaller businesses to be part of state-backed projects, especially in strategic sectors that the country is committed to self-sufficiency.
“At QIB, our strategy is closely tied with Qatar’s National Vision (QNV) 2030 and the government’s commitment to invest in the country’s infrastructure, diversify the economy and develop a strong private sector.
“To that end, we are proud of the partnerships we have built to support SME's and entrepreneurs in Qatar. QIB is contributing significantly to QDB’s Al Dhameen programme, which encourages SMEs to get the right finance from Banks in order to grow their businesses.
“Under another agreement we have with Manateq, investors in Manateq’s four logistics parks — Jery Al Samur, Birkat Al Awamer, Al Wakra and Aba Saleel — are able to raise 60% of their project financing against land and personal guarantees from QIB.”
Gamal said, “Since last year, we have digitised our internal SME financing process, leveraging a parametrised lending model, significantly reducing the response time and “time to cash” for SME customers applying for finance.
“We are very active participants in QDB’s National Response Guarantees Programme since its recent inception to support SMEs and the private sector through the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on our customers’ business and economic cycles.
“Our commitment to support the SMEs operating in Qatar is also reflected in our specialised Aamaly (meaning ‘My Business’) proposition, which is designed to provide tailored products and services to SMEs, offering financial benefits, guidance and advice from our specialised relationship managers throughout all the phases of a company’s lifecycle.
It features several benefits for SMEs including special SME-centric banking centres, 24-hour banking, payroll services, cash and cheque collection, overnight vaulting and time deposits, together with flexible lending and financing options.
Specific sector-related packages to meet the different financial needs of SMEs in sectors such as construction, trading and services, offering tailored products and services at very competitive terms are also available.
“Our SME customers are benefiting from the several new and upgraded digital solutions we have launched as part of our ongoing bank-wide digital transformation programme. To provide all our corporate customers with an easy, secure and convenient banking experience, we are regularly upgrading our Corporate Internet Banking platform, giving customers the possibility to manage online all their daily banking needs. “During last month, we have experienced the highest number of local and international transfers by our corporate customers in a single month with 93% of those transactions performed through our Internet banking platform. In addition, 100% of the monthly payrolls of companies registered in the Wage Protection System are performed automatically online,” Gamal noted.
“We offer the first Islamic Point of Sale (POS) and online payment gateway in the Qatari market, providing a wide portfolio of electronic payment solutions to our customers.
“To encourage further, our customers to use digital channels to complete all their banking transactions, we recently launched a new Corporate Deposit Only Card. The card allows large corporations, as well as SMEs, to deposit cash or cheques in their accounts at any time through QIB's 40 self-service Cash and Cheque Deposit Machines (CDMs) in a very convenient and secure method.”
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