How has the response of the government to the COVID-19 pandemic changed the needs of the companies you are serving?
Credit Oman is the national export credit agency of Oman and provides trade credit insurance for accounts receivable, B2B. We work with manufacturers and providers selling in Oman and outside of Oman by covering them against insolvency, bankruptcy, and default from the non-payment risk of the counter party. It helps companies reach a wider segment of companies and markets. This is why Oman set up this agency 30 years ago to promote and facilitate trade. The pandemic caused a drastic global slowdown of the supply chain. Many companies had the capacity in place but were unable to sell, and it also led to a buildup of receivables because they did not earn revenues and are unable to fulfill their liabilities, such as paying salaries and vendors. The Omani government sought to reduce the liabilities by introducing stimulus packages, financial incentives, tax incentives, and the cancellation or reduction of many fees. One of the latest packages introduced by the Minister of Finance was for investment promotion and export enhancement. Diversification from oil is key, meaning exports will play an important role in Vision 2040.
Which sectors are your main clients from right now?
We cut across all sectors. We have building materials, large pharmaceuticals, food, sanitation products, telephone, and IT companies. We are seeing huge growth in those segments. During the pandemic we reviewed our policies, processes, and people and sought to streamline our IT systems. We had strong support from our shareholders and worked to adapt to the new market in an agile way. We also created something specific for SMEs, and the benefit is that they will have protection for their accounts receivable. They can also use this to avail trading facilities from financial institutions, which helps with collateral for banks. SMEs can often be excluded from financial assistance, so this support can allow them to flourish.