Priority will be given to funding projects proposed by youth graduating from universities and technical colleges as part of Al Rafd Fund’s renewed integrated plan to support projects focusing on value-added products.
Fund CEO Tariq Bin Salman Al Farsi said that around 1.73 billion rials had been granted by the end of 2016 and the projects supported had created 3,138 jobs for nationals. The arrears in loan repayments were below 2 per cent he added.
He pointed out that most government agencies had failed in their commitment to implement the decision of allocating 10 per cent of their purchases to small and medium enterprises. This, he said, had been agreed upon during the Saih Al Shamkhat meeting.
The achievements of the fund over its three years since inception have been quite remarkable, he said.
He added that the fund provided 134 service and work contracts, valued at more than 5 million rials. It was a wide range of sectors that the fund covered with trade getting the highest of 37.6 per cent, services 23.6, logistics 19.2 and industrial 9 per cent. Muscat with 32.8 per cent was the biggest beneficiary, followed by Dakhiliyah at 16.2 per cent.
The focus would be on tourism, oil and gas, education and healthcare. As part of the strategy to support youth, the fund would be funding up to 2,000 rials for 10 student projects and there would be a grace period of five years for repayment.
As part of its future plans, the fund was developing a new criteria for selecting projects and putting in place a new mechanism to assess the feasibility studies.