(MENAFN - Arab News) Prominent economy experts have lamented a recent statement made by deputy crown prince muqrin accusing local banks of failing to play a role in aiding social development.
prince muqrin who was attending a charity function in riyadh told local media that banks need to do more.
'banks have made no contribution to charitable or educational projects despite recording an astronomical annual profit of sr38 billion and a 13-percent growth rate in this year's first quarter" he said. 'i call them a saw; they chew when they go in and chew when they go out."
economist mohammad al-qahtani described saudi banks as the 'spoiled child" of the saudi arabian monetary agency (sama).
'banks achieve annual profits that exceed sr10 billion and yet continue to fail to contribute to social services" he said.
al-qahtani accused saudi banks of being responsible for the low standard of living in the kingdom.
'banks are supported by the state" he said. 'these banks would collapse and lose the trust of investors and clients if they lose state support."
he called on banks to support limited income sectors and contribute to the health and education domains.
'banks must establish companies to facilitate health insurance for citizens and contribute to the education sector helping in the establishment of new schools" he said.
economic writer mohammad al-bishri said the prince's description of saudi banks echoes reality.
'it is no secret that saudi banks manipulate market forces and enjoy one of the largest shares of the middle east cake" he said. 'banks were able to achieve sizable annual profits thanks to the country's stable sociopolitical climate."
'banks bear no social responsibility despite huge profits" he said. 'we have not heard of a single educational or charitable project that is financed by these institutions."
abdulwahhab al-mijthil a member of the shoura council also condemned saudi banks saying that the sector has been wreaking havoc for forty years while make zero contribution to national development.
'banks exploit citizens and earn commission while giving nothing in return" he said. 'banks play on emotion by boasting enormous annual profits."
'a social responsibility program similar to the one implemented by the central bank of a neighboring gcc country should be circulated among national banks" he said.
turki fadaaq head of research at al-bilad investment however has said that several saudi banks do have social responsibility programs that vary from bank to bank but that there is no mechanism for measuring the volume of donations made to these programs.
'banks achieve their profits through a stable economy" he said. 'banks nevertheless are shareholding companies that are subject to the country's laws."