Doha: Many Youth Struggling Under Burden of Loans

The Peninsula

Doha, Jul 25: A Qatari, A Al Nuaimi, took a huge bank loan right after he got employment when he was 18. In his late 20s now, he is still repaying the loan, which he splurged on luxury cars and lavish living.

Al Nuaimi is not the only young Qatari weighed down by bank debt. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, like him from middle-class families who remain unmarried because they cannot save enough and are rather struggling to make ends meet.

Those who took loans to wed — a Qatari marriage is an expensive affair as a huge dowry needs to be paid to the bride — are having trouble saving their marriage since most of their income goes into repaying the debt.

“It’s a vicious circle,” Al Nuaimi said of bank loans. “I wish there was someone to advise me against taking a bank loan when I was young. I have immense regrets today, and cannot marry.”

He said he had a lot of friends and, like him, they were employed too. “We were in fierce competition. If a friend bought an expensive car with a bank loan, I followed suit and went for a more costly car.”

This went on until their prime youth had passed, and they are still paying the price for their profligacy.

Ali Al Shummari, 25, has a similar tale to tell. After taking a big bank loan when he was quite young, he also spent it on unproductive things and is remorseful today.

“Much of my salary is still being deducted by the bank to repay the debt. Little remains from it and that is barely enough to make ends meet,” he lamented.

According to Al Nuaimi, he took credit cards and spent additional sums on things that could have been easily avoided. The friends who initiated him into the “dreadful world” of debt have all disappeared and are fighting their own battles to service loans.

Adil, on the other hand, is an example of a youth who sought a bank loan to marry. He gave dowry and threw huge banquets and bought expensive gifts for his wife and relatives.

With much of his salary going into servicing the debt, he is left with little to fend for himself and his family.

And when personal finances are scarce, there is tension at home and the relationship with the spouse is strained.

The youth, caught in the vicious web of loans, do not know when they would be free from the fetters of bank debt.


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