Kafalah Saudi program reaches 10,000 SMEs milestone

The Kafalah Program has brought forward more than 10,000 success stories covering a wide range of industries and sectors. (Photo credit: kafalah.gov.sa)
Updated 25 March 2018
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Kafalah Saudi program reaches 10,000 SMEs milestone

RIYADH: The amount of funds granted by banks and guaranteed by the Kingdom’s Kafalah Program (SME Financing Guarantee Program) for small- and medium-sized enterprises has exceeded SR21 billion ($5.6 billion) until the end of 2017. The move is significant considering that one of the main goals of Vision 2030 is to raise the GDP contribution of SMEs in the Kingdom from 20 to 35 percent.
This was disclosed by Homam Abdul Aziz Hashim, Kafalah’s director general, on Saturday. Hashim said: “The Saudi banks collaborating with the program confirmed their strong commitment to empowering small- and medium-sized enterprises and facilitating their success, thereby contributing to the national economy.”
He said the Kafalah Program has brought forward more than 10,000 success stories covering a wide range of industries and sectors. In 2017 alone, the number of small- and medium-sized companies participating in Kafalah reached 1793, an increase of 4.9 percent compared with 2016, he added.
“The program aims to overcome an obstacle often faced by SMEs, namely the inability to access adequate funding or to provide the required bank guarantees.” Addressing this crucial topic, the program was established to cover the risk of the bank in case of failure of the enterprise, he noted.
He pointed out that the services of the program are being expanded, aiming to further increase the number of beneficiaries. “The issuance of a royal decree to assign an amount of SR800 million to drive the growth of the private sector is expected to make a major positive impact in this regard,” he added. Through the launch of new products, Kafalah seeks to stimulate the financing of SMEs in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, he said.
“From a modest start in its first year, when Saudi banks provided SR22 million in financing to 36 small and medium enterprises, today Kafalah is well positioned as a pioneering program which will contribute to achieving one of the most important objectives of the Vision 2030,” said Talat Hafiz, secretary general of the Media and Banking Awareness Committee and spokesman of the Saudi banks.
Hafiz said: “The steady increase in the number and value of guarantees and the high demand by participating banks showcases the success of the forward-thinking concept of the program, with the main objective being the development of this crucial sector of the local economy in lockstep with many developed nations such as the US and the European Union.”


Saudi Arabia to impose fines for breach of new public decency laws

Updated 5 min 15 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia to impose fines for breach of new public decency laws

  • The list of offenses has been designed to respect the values, customs, traditions and culture of Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: People breaking any of 10 new rules on public behavior in Saudi Arabia face being fined up to SR5,000 ($1,333). A list of offenses relating to breaches of public decency came into force throughout the Kingdom on Saturday.

Cabinet members last month approved the regulations which aim to uphold the values, principles and identity of Saudi society in public places such as parks, beaches, malls, hotels and restaurants.

Shoura Council member Dr. Muadi Al-Madhhab told MBC channel: “The Kingdom isn’t the only country to implement such regulations. Many countries already have them, and the regulations apply to citizens and expatriates.”

With rising tourism, he said that the 10 provisions would help individuals to be aware of how they should behave in the presence of visitors to the country.

The list has been designed to respect the values, customs, traditions and culture of Saudi Arabia, and the country’s interior minister will work with the chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) and other relevant authorities to administer and enforce the rules and where necessary serve penalties.

BACKGROUND

The list of offenses has been designed to respect the values, customs, traditions and culture of Saudi Arabia.

Each of the 10 regulations will carry a corresponding fine that will be issued by the minister. Under the rules, individuals will be expected to adhere to respectful dress codes and avoid taking photos or using phrases that might offend public decency.

The list covers graffiti and demolition of public property or transport unless authorized by Saudi authorities. Verbal and physical acts of violence or conduct that causes damage, fear or is deemed to be a threat to public safety will also form part of the crackdown.

Legal consultant Dimah Al-Sharif told Arab News: “I believe that the sanctions will play a major role in forcing the community to respect and commit to the regulations.”

She said the Ministry of Interior and SCTH could link the list of decency offenses to the Absher app in the same way as traffic crimes. “This would ensure that individuals treat the issue of public decency seriously and responsibly.” Anyone breaking one of the bylaws for a second time within the same year will face having their fine doubled.