RIYADH: The Saudi SMEs loan guarantee program ‘Kafalah’ helped 1621 businesses during the first quarter of 2021 — up 162 percent year-on-year, Al Eqtisadiah reported.
Guarantees increased by about 150 percent to SR2.9 billion and financing reached SR3.6 billion, the newspaper said.
Some 215 private sector business women benefited from the scheme during the first quarter of this year, compared to 64 during the year-earlier period.
The value of guarantees during the first quarter amounted to SR142 million and the value of financing reached SR157 million.
The most prominent sectors benefiting included the wholesale and retail trade, construction, accommodation services, food, and manufacturing industries, according to Kafalah.
Businesses in Riyadh, the Eastern Region and Makkah claimed the lion’s share of assistance.
The program will mostly target the tourism and entertainment sectors this year, in addition to the communications and information technology sectors, said Kafalah Director-General Homam Bin Abdulaziz Hashem.
The program was founded in 2006 as a joint initiative between the Kingdom’s ministry of finance and Saudi commercial banks to help overcome SME financing constraints.