Qatar’s projected growth in excess of 3% this year will have a “positive” impact on many sectors of the national economy, said QIIB chief executive officer Dr Abdulbasit Ahmad al-Shaibei.
“Various international institutions of good reputation have acknowledged that the Qatari economy is very well diversified and robust. We have managed to tide over the ill-effects of the unjustified blockade in a very short time,” al-Shaibei said in an interview with Gulf Times yesterday.
“If you are looking at the stock market (QSE), it is also performing very well. With this growth (and positive outlook), I believe by the year-end, all economic sectors in the country stand to benefit. Of course the credit goes to (after Almighty God) the vision of His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and the Government of Qatar.”
Al-Shaibei said, “The blockade honestly opened new opportunities for the business community in Qatar. When I say the business community, I mean both individuals and institutions. We have managed to convert challenges into real opportunities.”
The QIIB CEO said, “Since the blockade, we have learnt a lot. We have found new trade partners…we are now open to all geographic locations – Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America. I see more pluses than minuses in the whole thing.”
Asked whether the Qatari banks would have to pursue rigorous customer profiling before sanctioning credit, al-Shaibei said, “We have always been prudent regardless of whether it is boom time, or not.”
He said the level of NPLs (non-performing loans) in Qatar’s banking system remains at an “acceptable level”.
On the launch of many new retail banking products in the market, the QIIB CEO said, “It is an ongoing process. Qatari banks have been very pro-active when it comes to retail. The retail segment is key to our economy…it is a good measure of how our economy is performing.”
Al-Shaibei said, “Our (Qatari banks) balance sheets will prove that retail is doing well like the corporate business.”
On QIIB’s network expansion in Qatar, he said, “The expansion of the QIIB branch network would be in tandem with alternate electronic channels, which has been the trend in banking, globally.
“QIIB is keen to consistently develop its banking services via mobile phones, as well as telephone banking and Internet banking. The bank has done a thorough upgrade of its round-the-clock call centre, along with the expansion of ATMs in various prime locations.”
On Umnia Bank in Morocco, which is a QIIB joint venture in the kingdom, he said, “A bouquet of Islamic products will be launched by the new bank once the authorities there give approval. As you know, Shariah-based banking is a new exercise for them…it takes some time for them to review these from the legal point of view.” Page 16
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