Monshaat and Kafalah announce initiatives to support SMEs in Saudi Arabia

Monshaat and Kafalah announce initiatives to support SMEs in Saudi Arabia
21 deals worth SR2.8 billion were concluded. (SPA)
Updated 21 November 2019

Monshaat and Kafalah announce initiatives to support SMEs in Saudi Arabia

Monshaat and Kafalah announce initiatives to support SMEs in Saudi Arabia
  • Monshaat is set to launch a bank for SMEs

DAMMAM: The Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monshaat) has stressed its keenness to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through initiatives, programs, and activities, including consulting, follow-up, training and awareness-raising, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Thursday.

Monshaat is set to launch a bank for SMEs and establish an electronic link between SMEs, the authority and funding agencies, in addition to allocating funds to achieve the principle of sponsorship adopted by the government program Kafalah.

This came on Wednesday during the workshop organized by the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This workshop, held at the chamber’s headquarters in Dammam, was attended by Monshaat’s Director of Corporate Finance Badr Al-Radhan and the representative of Kafalah, Mohammed Al-Khuwaiter.

Al-Radhan said that Monshaat had adopted many initiatives worth about SR12 billion ($3.2 billion). These include venture capitals, indirect loans, recovery of government fees, and the enhancement of the Kafalah Program.

He pointed out that 21 deals worth SR2.8 billion were concluded under these programs, with the amounts approved for investment by Monshaat exceeding SR1 billion.

Al-Radhan added that the targeted sectors were the well-known economic activities, most notably agriculture, accommodation and catering services, administrative and support services, transport and storage, real estate, education, health, manufacturing, arts and entertainment, information and communications, and others.

He stressed that Monshaat was in the process of evaluating its performance while taking into account several indicators, including the percentage of loan utilization for the target sectors.

Al-Radhan spoke about the SME bank that Monshaat is set up to launch, highlighting that this initiative aims to improve access to funding and empower key financial institutions to provide more funding, support Vision 2030, and contribute to the financial sector development plan. He referred to the cooperation between Monshaat and 35 governmental and non-governmental bodies to inform beneficiaries of financing options for entrepreneurs, and mechanisms to benefit from them.

Al-Khuwaiter said that the Kafalah program, founded in 2006 as a joint development initiative between the Ministry of Finance and Saudi commercial banks to help overcome SME financing constraints, covered the guarantee of a percentage of the risk in the event of a sponsored activity’s failure to repay part or all of its funds.

He emphasized that the program has partnerships with 30 bodies, including 26 banks and financing institutions, and four government agencies.

Al-Khuwaiter added that until the third quarter of this year, Kafalah had sponsored 7,321 establishments, which received about SR30.9 million, with guarantees issued by the program reaching SR16.9 billion.
 


Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia

Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia
Vishing that occurs during a telephone call aims to provoke fear in the victim so that customers will be more susceptible to giving out personal, financial, or security details. (shutterstock)
Updated 53 min 2 sec ago

Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia

Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia
  • The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has warned bank customers, both citizens and expatriates, not to fall victim to financial frauds being perpetrated by scammers

JEDDAH: Fraudsters have developed a new scam, contacting residents in Saudi Arabia and pretending to be bank staffers requesting customer details.
A number of Arab News staff have received such calls in recent weeks. One caller spoke Urdu while two other callers posing as senior officials from the headquarters of the bank spoke in English and Arabic with a local accent.
They used phone numbers that appeared to be local numbers but upon calling back, the lines failed to connect.
The racketeers collect phone numbers of customers and ring them up, saying that their bank account or ATM card requires immediate updating. The scammers use the information provided to gain access to their bank accounts.
Speaking to Arab News, Talat Zaki Hafiz, secretary-general of the Media and Banking Awareness Committee of Saudi banks, said: “Saudi banks represented by the Media and Banking Awareness Committee have repeatedly warned bank customers not to react to stray phone calls of any kind coming from unknown sources that ask to update their banking record or personal information.” He further confirmed that banks do not request such information through phone calls or SMS messages.
Mohammed Khurram Khan, a professor of cybersecurity at the King Saud University in Riyadh, told Arab News: “Phishing, an online scam which targets users through emails where individuals are encouraged to click on a link that takes them to fraudulent sites, was troubling people. Now it’s a different kind of scam known as ‘vishing,’ over-the-phone phishing, where scammers persuade users to share their banking information by impersonating a bank official.”

HIGHLIGHT

The racketeers collect phone numbers of customers and ring them up, saying that their bank account or ATM card requires immediate updating. The scammers use the information provided to gain access to their bank accounts.

Vishing that occurs during a telephone call aims to provoke fear in the victim so that customers will be more susceptible to giving out personal, financial, or security details.
Sharing his experience Zafar Hasan, an e-learning consultant in Riyadh, said: “I received a call from someone on an unknown mobile number who introduced himself as a bank employee and told me that my ATM card was going to be blocked. It required an immediate update so I should give my Iqama number (residence permit number) and sixteen-digit ATM card number. I felt something was fishy, so I told him that I would go personally to the bank to update the card.”
The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has warned bank customers, both citizens and expatriates, not to fall victim to financial frauds being perpetrated by scammers.
SAMA called on bank customers to take information only from the official channels of the bodies regulating the Kingdom’s financial and investment sectors and inform the competent security authorities about such fraudulent attempts.