Oman grants 2900 interest-free loans for SMEs

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Oman Development Bank
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Oman Development Bank (ODB) has processed loans for some 2,900 small business owners at a total value of $13.25 million within a span of just 3 three weeks of starting an interest-free emergency loan program. 

This initiative is an extension of the bank’s efforts to relieve the burden on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and provide the effected entrepreneurs interest-free loans,’ it said in a statement.

The number of loans disbursed until now has reached 995 with a total value of more than $5.45 million. Another set of applications for loans with a total value of $4.42 million is ready and will soon be disbursed as the bank continuously receives applications and makes the procedures easy and swift for the beneficiaries of the program.

The ODB inaugurated a special interactive electronic platform for submitting applications through its website through which 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.

OBD – Sanad Alliance 

The bank has also entered into agreements with more than 800 Sanad offices spread across all governorates to extend the benefit of its services across the region. ‘The Sanad offices help in registering for the initial procedures of the beneficiaries for the emergency loan program. 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, “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 program, Harthi added that the ODB has set minimum terms and conditions compared with those practiced 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 program and make the disbursement of loan amounts to their beneficiaries as quickly as possible,” he added.