Qatar plans to halve number of families in debt

April 14, 2011

Around three quarters of Qatari families are reportedly in debt, burdened mainly by large amounts of loans exceeding Qatari riyals 250,000 (Dh252,151), and the National Development Strategy (NDS) 2011- 2016 aims to halve the number by 2016, a local daily said.

Plans by NDS include a thorough campaign against lavish lifestyles, indebtedness, and legal action against defaulters, as well as a comprehensive approach to curb the desire to live beyond one’s means through pre-marriage counselling programmes and an easily accessible financial advisory service, theQatar Tribune reported.

“This will provide some measure of protection for individuals and subsequently improve the financial status of families by improving financial management as well as reducing extravagant and non-necessary expenses being financed through loans,” the strategy says. The measures will be implemented in tandem with the human development strategies.

Healthcare and education are two major factors responsible for the indebtedness of the majority of Qatari families, even though Qatar provides free healthcare and education to its citizens. However, an increasing number of families are incurring debt to cover costs of services provided by the private sector.

Most vulnerable among such families are low-income people, divorcees, widows and families headed by retired or unemployed people who have little resources to repay loans.

According to a 2007 study covering a sample of 1,368 Qatari households, loans for healthcare reached QR256,000 per household whereas loans for education amounted to QR167,000 per household. Education loans covered students who did not benefit from the student exchange system or government subsidies or scholarships.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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