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Interest-free loans for 2,900 small businesses approved

29 Jul 2020

Within three weeks of starting an interest-free emergency loan programme, approved by the Royal Directives of His Majesty the Sultan, Oman Development Bank (ODB) has processed loans for some 2,900 small business owners at a total value of RO5.1mn. 

‘The number of emergency loans provided by the ODB between July 5 and July 28 has reached 2,900. These interest-free loans have a total value of RO5.1mn.

This as part of the efforts made by the bank to implement the instructions and guidelines of the Supreme Committee in charge of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The bank’s concern is to alleviate the burden on small and medium enterprises and provide the effected entrepreneurs interest-free loans,’ it said in a statement.

The number of loans disbursed till now has reached 995 with a total value of more than RO2.1mn. Another set of applications for loans with a total value of RO1.7mn is ready and will soon be disbursed. 

The bank is continuously receiving applications and making the procedures easy and swift for the beneficiaries of the programme. 

The ODB inaugurated a special interactive electronic platform for submitting applications through its website. Through the platform, it collects all the required data and documents in preparation for signing of loan agreements with the nearest bank branch of the beneficiary and completing the process of disbursing the loans. ‘This is also part of the framework to give officials of all banks direct access to the submitted applications and clarify their positions.’

The bank has also entered into contracts with more than 800 Sanad offices spread across all governorates to benefit from its services. ‘The Sanad offices help in registering for the initial procedures of the beneficiaries for the emergency loan programme. This is to help those who do not know how to electronically register and transact.’

Hamad bin Salem al Harthy, head of ODB’s financing for small, medium and micro projects, said that he has formed an integrated supervisory team to implement the programme. “There is a special operations room for this purpose linked to an immediate performance platform which shows the stages of achievement. It helps in doing follow up of the work in various branches of the bank spread all over the sultanate. All applications for the service are submitted online.”

About the procedures and terms and conditions of the emergency loans programme, Harthi said that the ODB has set minimum terms and conditions compared with those practised in financing projects. “There is no secret that the employees of the ODB are making huge efforts day and night, more than ten hours a day in this testing times to implement the emergency loan programme and make the disbursement of loan amounts to their beneficiaries as quickly as possible,” he added.

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