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Monday, April 21, 2014  

ODB lends 354m rials for projects
MUSCAT Oman Development Bank (ODB) provided 36,977 loans worth 354 million rials till last November since its inception. The bank allocated funds to all economic and developmental sectors in the Sultanate, said Eid Bin Khair Al Balushi, assistant general manager of ODB at “Invest in Oman” Forum organised by Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Al Balushi said that the bank plays a pivotal role in promoting the production sectors in the Sultanate as a sustainable development bank with the support it renders for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), big enterprises and craft industries.

He also said that ODB finances all projects for development sectors except for business projects to a maximum limit of 1 million rials with interest rates subsidised by the government; which affords 6 per cent of the interest rate, whereas the investor pays 3 per cent only.  

Al-Balushi said that ODB provides free-interest loans to small craft projects whose cost not exceeding 5,000 rials to support craftsmen in practicing traditional crafts inherited in the Omani community.

The categories that are being supported by the bank are entrepreneurs who manage their own businesses and have suitable experience, in addition to little investors, self employed person, fishers and the graduates of Institutions and colleges, he added.

The period of loans settlement for little investors is six years, in addition to a grace period of one year, he said. The applicant shall provide an appropriate guarantee covering the risks related to the project, in addition to mortgaging the assets of the project, providing personal guarantee through a sponsor who has a steady source of income and providing cheques as a means of settlement.

Al Balushi said ODB finances small enterprises like different kinds of workshops, sewing and tailoring shops, hairdressing and beauty shops, in addition to establishing nurseries for the kids, buying vehicles for transporting potable and non-potable water, buying engines for fishing boats, buying modern fishing tools, establishing car driving schools and buying the vehicles for transporting gas.

The bank finances the agricultural sector through financing greenhouses, modern irrigation system, buying agrarian tractors, financing apiaries, veterinary clinics, in addition to buying agricultural equipments and pumps. It also finances establishing poultry slaughterhouses, building open and closed barns, in addition to supporting the various efforts aiming at qualifying and developing the farmers’ skills. The bank also finances plantation nurseries, dates factories and all what is classified under the agricultural sector.

“ODB finances the fishery and animal sectors through buying maritime machineries, fishing boats and ships, in addition to fishing tools. The bank also supports the building of new factories for drying and packaging fishes, as well as ice factories. It also supports fish farming (shrimps, lobsters), the production of fish powders and what is classified under the fields of fishery and animal sectors.” He added.

As for the tourism projects, Al Blaushi said: “The bank finances the projects of establishing hotels, hotel apartments, tour guide offices, tourist camps, restaurants, maritime tourism, parks, amusement clubs and cinemas.”  

He said: “The bank finances also some projects in the industrial sector including timber and paper industries, cars and vehicles repair workshops, prints, petroleum industries, furniture industry, chemical and petrochemical industries, textiles industry, leather and shoes industry, mining industry, building materials industries, as well as the formation and fabrication of minerals, in addition to machineries and equipments industries and all what is classified under the industrial sector.”

 “The bank finances also professional projects like legal consultancy offices, law offices, engineering and architecture consultant offices, accounting services and consultancies offices, administrative, economic, pedagogical offices, IT management and systems services, advertising services and what falls under the aspects of professional sector.” He added.

Al Balushi said that educational projects like universities, colleges, private schools, nurseries and training institutes are given due attention and consideration by ODB due to its importance in sustaining the educational efforts exerted in the Sultanate.

He indicated that health projects receive also due consideration by the bank. These projects include hospitals, health centers, specialized clinics and medical laboratories.  

Al Blaushi explained that ODB provides loans for establishing new projects or extending existing ones. The bank finances 50 per cent maximum of the cost if the project lies in the boundaries of Muscat governorate and 65 per cent of the cost if the project lies outside Muscat governorate to sustain all various economic and development activities in the country.

The bank had financed 41 tourism projects during the first half of the current year, which account for 4 per cent of the total loans provided by the bank. The total value of these loans is pegged at 2.129 million rials, representing 30 per cent of the total value of loans provided by ODB for different projects during this period, the bank had said.

During 2010, ODB financed 142 projects in the tourism sector, constituting 4.1 per cent of the total number of projects financed by the bank with a value of 5.328 million rials, accounting for 13.9 per cent of the total value of loans provided by the bank during 2010 in the service and production sectors.

ODB finances the projects after conducting necessary market studies and based on the nature of projects which are needed by the national economy in light of the Five-Year Plan of the government.

Oman Tribune
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