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Qatar ND Strategy - Debt

Qatar ND Strategy - Debt

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Published by: shabina921 on May 18, 2012
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01/13/2013

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Supporting families with special circumstances
Qatar has a generous social protection system provided by multiple stakeholders, including the government, civil society organizations and the private sector. However, some families face special circumstances that require additional social care. These circumstances include caring for and protecting a family member who faces challenges related to age, health or social conditions, such as being elderly, having a disability, having been in prison, being a drug addict or being a juvenile offender. The government will support families with special needs by increasing the range of assistance facilities available to Qataris within their communities, improving the focus of data collection to establish a stronger evidence base, and reviewing and updating current legislation to provide stronger legal protections.
Assistance to families that face special circumstances

Development Strategy 2011–2016 social development pillar. Protection and support for people in need and their families are vital measures of how inclusive and caring a society truly is. Target Increase the number of facilities providing support for families facing special circumstances from zero to three.

Reducing economic and social vulnerability and improving financial management
Qatar does not have a personal income tax or value added sales tax, and a number of noncontributory government transfer programmes exist, with bene ciaries ranging from disadvantaged groups to newlyweds through the marriage fund. But threequarters of Qatari families are in debt, with most burdened by large loans exceeding QR 250,000. This statistic is linked to weak economic and social empowerment of vulnerable families and a prevailing culture of extravagance and conspicuous consumption ( gure 5.5). There is a weak nancial culture among families overall, and in some cases this results in taking out loans without fully understanding the costs of repayment. Although Qatar provides free healthcare and education, data suggest an increasing number of families are incurring debt to cover costs of private sector service providers. Vulnerable families, especially those in the low-income category, will be more susceptible in these conditions. Families likely to be affected are those headed by women, especially divorced and widowed women, families with retired and unemployed heads and families headed by employed people with lower education levels. To reduce more severe, longer term nancial security threats, especially among the vulnerable, the government will support measures to improve the nancial management practices of Qatari families through a programme to increase education, awareness and nancial planning skills. Changing attitudes towards debt and promoting sound spending and investment practices will be critical
Family cohesion: the core of Qatari society

To address the additional problems of families that face special circumstances, the range of support facilities available to Qataris within the community will be increased, the focus of data collection will be improved and relevant legislation will be reviewed and updated if necessary. Families will be able to receive informal support and assistance from community-based centres without fear of stigmatization. This positive model will also build awareness of the dif culties faced by some families and how they can be helped or how they can support and help each other. The centres will take the lead in establishing local civil society associations to provide additional support. A review and revision of laws relating to the status of children belonging to Qatari women married to non-Qatari men will be undertaken to ensure that all children receive the necessary essential services to guarantee their well-being. And existing legislation relating to people with disabilities will be comprehensively enforced, including their inclusion in the workforce, which is a key part of the social protection sector strategy of the National

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Figure 5.5 More nancial responsibility and less indebtedness are needed Increasing pressure from inflation and spending . . .
Income and in ation Average income (QR; nominal) Average income (QR; real) Consumer price index (2000 = 100) 2001 19,912 19,912 100 2007 41,483 27,000 151

. . . aggravated by high levels of indebtedness among Qatari households A 2007 study covering a sample of 1,368 Qatari households showed an increased focus on indebtedness due to pursuit of lifestyles potentially beyond their means: Loans for speculation in the stock market reached QR 297,000 per household. Loans for entertainment, travelling and touring reached QR 203,000 per household. The average value of a car loan was approximately QR 111,000 per household. Loans are also taken to pay for health and education services, indicating a shift towards private sector services due to changing socioeconomic conditions: Loans for healthcare services reached QR 256,000 per household even though healthcare is free in Qatar. Healthcare expenses probably cover payments for treatment abroad. Loans for educational pursuits reached QR 167,000 per household, most likely to cover students who did not bene t from the student exchange system or government-provided subsidies or scholarships.

Basic goods and services Residence, water, electricity Transportation Food and beverages

2001 17.6% 16.5% 17.5%

2007 29.3% 13.8% 11.2%

Income and expenditure Average income (QR) Average expenditure (QR)

2001 19,912 22,366

2007 41,483 40,757

to the nancial well-being of current and future generations.
Capacity, awareness and support for family finances

A comprehensive, supportive approach to curb the desire to live above one’s means will begin with awareness and counselling programmes as a premarriage requirement and will include an easily accessible nancial advisory service that offers legal advice on loan rates and payments. A thorough campaign against indebtedness will require legislative action, including setting limits on maximum allowable loans based on an individual’s income. This will provide some level of protection for individuals and subsequently improve the nancial status of families by improving nancial management, reducing extravagant and nonnecessary expenses now being nanced through loans. Since data support the desire for Qataris to seek private sector healthcare and education — two sources of potentially large financial
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Qatar National Development Strategy 2011–2016

expenditure —the government will enact a comprehensive health insurance system for families and provide an education allowance or vouchers for private education. These measures provide cross-sectoral alignment with the National Development Strategy 2011–2016 human development strategies as well. Targets Reduce the number of Qatari families burdened by large loans (QR 250,000 or more). Halve the number of Qatari families in debt.

Adopting a holistic approach to child well-being
A solid social structure depends on sustainable health and education measures to strengthen its future generations — a key focus of the human development strategies for the National Development Strategy 2011–2016. But the prominence of health and education in QNV 2030 requires careful, cross-sectoral considerations of Qatar’s

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