Muscat: Oman Development Bank (ODB) has disbursed loans worth OMR67.79 million to finance 7,553 projects in North Batinah governorate between 2009 and 2018.
This was part of its efforts to develop all the governorates of the Sultanate. These finances were aimed at supporting national initiatives for investment in service and productive economic sectors with high added value, achieving self-sufficiency in goods and commodities, and accommodating Omanis as employees.
Khuwaiter bin Hilal Al Ma’amari, ODB’s acting director for North and South Batinah governorates, said that the projects, which were financed in the governorate, covered many sectors, including education, agriculture, livestock, fisheries, industry, health, tourism, professional projects, and IT projects.
He said that the most prominent sectors financed were the industrial sector, agriculture and livestock and fisheries sectors.
Al Ma'amari stated that citizens could benefit from the financial services of the ODB. It was beneficial for those who are looking for jobs and those already employed. These loans provided opportunities for self-employment and helped in the improvement of the financial level of the workers. This was a major support for the development of the national economy, he said.
Al Ma’amari also said that what the ODB provided as loans was lacking in other sources of finance, such as government support, and it also provided a grace period of up to half of the loan period, financing of new projects, and information support.
On the success of self-managed projects of young Omanis and how they can be strengthened, Al Ma’amari said that these Omani youth had demonstrated excellence in project management at all levels and sectors, as many of them had started micro-projects. These projects expanded in a short time and fell in the category of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). He said that many youth reached out to the world by exporting their products outside the Sultanate. This proved a high level of efficiency and the ability to manage the projects.
He added that the area for Omani youth to focus on was finance. Some of the youth lacked knowledge over financial management, which adversely affected the management of projects. About the commitment to the repayment of loans, Al Ma’amari said that Omani youth were aware of the importance of paying financial obligations, so the default rate was very small.
On strengthening SMEs and entrepreneurs in the Sultanate, Al Ma'amari said that entrepreneurship could be strengthened by making procedures easy, so that citizens do not waste much time and effort in completing their transactions and dealings. This will reflect on their projects' efficiency and make electronic transactions popular. This will also help in promoting the projects and their profitability.