Qatar Central Bank Governor HE Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud al-Thani, has said the QCB is currently looking into the development of a new system for issuing electronic checks in co-ordination with the authorities in the country.
The electronic checks are being planned to be a substitute for paper checks to bring down the number of bounced checks due to technical or financial reasons, Sheikh Abdulla said.
In an exclusive interview with Al-Raya newspaper published on Tuesday, he said the new controls recently issued by the central bank would limit the number bounced checks.
The QCB is currently updating instructions on an ongoing basis in co-ordination with the official bodies and agencies in the country to limit the cases of bounced checks with its social and economic impact on both the issuer and the beneficiary, whether individuals or companies, Sheikh Abdulla said.
Regarding the QCB’s role in combating money laundering and terrorist financing, Sheikh Abdulla said that the bank has developed one of the best national systems for combating money laundering and financing terrorism as well as combating the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
He noted that the flexibility of Qatar’s economy is brought about by a combination of factors, including policy measures adopted by the QCB and the country’s economic diversification programme.
Despite the sharp decline in energy prices due to Covid-19 crisis, data showed a continuous rise in international reserves and liquidity in foreign currency at the QCB.
Those reserves are more than sufficient to cover the issued cash on the one hand, and also to meet the purchases by local banks of dollars within the exchange rate policy, as well as for monetary policy purposes, Sheikh Abdulla noted.
Treasury bills issued by the QCB come within the framework of developing the monetary policy in the State of Qatar by contributing to the strength of the banking and financial system and activating open market tools as one of the monetary policy tools, he said.
On facing coronavirus, Sheikh Abdulla said the QCB has published circulars on confronting the risks of the virus and has also played a pivotal role in confronting the pandemic through a host of measures.
These include launching the National Guarantee Programme to provide guarantees to the private sector of workers' wages and rents for a period of 9 months.
In addition, all conventional and Islamic banks operating in the country, which have accounts for the wage protection system, have to accept financing requests submitted by these companies according to certain conditions and guarantees, including a grace period of one year and a low interest rate, Sheikh Abdulla said.
He referred to the role of the QCB in following the best and latest international standards in supervising banks and other financial institutions in the country.
With regard to banks, on top of these standards, are the principles of effective supervision issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the Islamic Financial Services Board for Islamic banks, in addition to the standards issued by each of them regarding risk management and capital adequacy.
Sheikh Abdulla also stressed the importance of pegging the exchange rate of the Qatari riyal to the US dollar at QR3.64 as one of the most important priorities of the QCB’s monetary policy objectives.