(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Almost 13.8 per cent of Oman's GDP is accounted for by small and medium enterprises (SMEs), according to the director general of SME development at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI). Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the 5th SME Exhibition and Conference, at the Oman International Exhibition Centre, on Monday, Sheikh Salah al Maawali, director general for the directorate general of SME development at MoCI, said that the contribution from SMEs is around 13.8 per cent of the total GDP of the country.
''Currently there are around 91,000 SMEs functioning in Oman as per a survey conducted by the statistics department at MoCI. We have created a committee to evaluate the contribution of SMEs towards the GDP of the country.'' Regarding MoCI's SME loanguarantee programme, Maawali said, ''Currently two banks “ Oman Arab Bank (OAB) and bank muscat - are involved in the loan-guarantee programme, which will help the growing number of SMEs and banks bridge the gap in lending.
We hope more banks and financial companies will lend their support in the future.'' Launched as a collaboration between MoCI and the US Small Business Administration (SBA), the scheme provides a guarantee for 50 per cent of each SME loan, up to RO250,000, with interest rates of only three per cent, while banks charge around six per cent interest on the remaining 50 per cent. All Omani SMEs with a project value of less than RO500,000 are eligible for the programme