DAMMAM: SAEED AL-ASMARI
Published — Wednesday 6 March 2013
Last update 6 March 2013 2:01 am
The Saudi economy is expected to register a growth of between 4 percent and 4.4 percent in 2013 on the back of high oil prices and government spending.
This was indicated during a meeting of the board of directors of Qatar First Investment Bank (QFIB) in Dammam on Sunday. The meeting took note of the fact that Saudi Arabia has set a record state budget valued at $ 218.7 billion to stimulate and enhance the non-hydrocarbon sectors including construction, health care, education and financial services.
The QFIB board meeting was chaired by Abdullah Fahad Ghorab Al-Marri and included leading Saudi businessman and QFIB Vice Chairman Ibrahim Mohamed Al-Jomaih and QFIB CEO Emad Mansour.
Prominent Saudi businessmen and CEOs of top companies were invited to a business meeting at the Dammam Sheraton after the board confab.
QFIB is the first independent Shariah-compliant bank regulated by Qatar Financial Center Regulatory Authority.
The meeting in Dammam was part of the bank's scheduled board meetings that is held every year in a different Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country in order to reach out to the its diversified base of shareholders.
"Saudi Arabia is an important market for us. It has a steady and stable economy. We like to join competitive markets to help us thrive and expand our business," Al-Marri told Arab News.
According to Al-Marri, Dammam is important because of its close proximity to Dhahran which houses the world's leading oil and gas company Saudi Aramco. "QFIB takes a special interest in the oil and gas sector as it is the backbone of the GCC economies," said Al-Marri. "To date, QFIB has invested over 400 million Qatari riyals in this vibrant sector."
He reiterated that Saudi Arabia is the world's top oil-producing country with a production of 11,150,000 barrels/day contributing around 12.9 percent of the world's total oil production. Moreover, it has 20 percent of the world's oil reserves standing at 265 billion barrels which puts the Kingdom at top of the world's oil-exporting countries.
Al-Jomaih told Arab News that the Saudi market has a very positive outlook. "We hope this meeting will bring QFIB closer to potential investors in Saudi Arabia," he said. "Our role as board members is to support the management in promoting the bank."
Al-Marri underlined great opportunities in the real estate sector in the Eastern Province. The focus of businesses will be on this region because of its closeness to Qatar.
"Since Qatar will host the landmark World Cup 2022, it will require large-scale projects. Qatari companies alone cannot carry out these large-scale projects. Saudi companies will have to join and some of the Saudi companies have already won many of these large-scale projects in different fields," said Al-Marri.