The Potential In Oman Continues To Grow

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According to HE Taher bin Salem bin Abdullah Al Omari, Executive President of the Central Bank of Oman, the Sultanate has one of the highest Islamic asset growth rates in the world.

Islamic finance in Oman is thriving. There are more financial institutions currently offering Islamic finance products or working under a Shari’ah framework than ever before, and this is due in no small part to the regulatory environment that has allowed the financial system to grow and prosper.

“Since the start of Islamic banking in Oman we have achieved legal framework for this and there are 82 outlets which are offering Islamic services. The Sultanate has one of the highest Islamic assets rates in terms of growth and all the indicators for this are encouraging,” said HE Taher bin Salem bin Abdullah Al Omari, the Executive President of Central Bank of Oman, to commemorate the opening of the second annual Salalah International Islamic Finance Conference in Salalah, Oman in July.

“We have secured deposits based on Islamic regulations and we are working hard to see initiatives in the future,” continued bin Salem al Omari. The three-day event, organised by Tawafuq Consultancy and Muscat Clearing and Depository Company, was held under the patronage of H E Sheikh Khalid bin Omar bin Said al Marhoon, Minister of Civil Service.

The conference included a presentation of working papers under four main themes: Islamic finance and economic diversification, contemporary issues in Islamic finance in terms of Sukuk issuance procedures and their role in development, in addition to the legal aspects of Sukuk, and importance of the role of supporting organisations of Islamic finance, as well as various seminars.

Dr Ali Muhi’eddin al Qara Dhaghi, Secretary General of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Ashraf Hashim, CEO of ISRA Consultancy - Malaysia, and a number of specialists and interested persons in the Islamic finance sector from inside and outside the sultanate took part in the conference.

On the sidelines of the conference, specialised workshops, focusing on bankers, legal professionals, researchers and those interested in Islamic finance and economics, including professors, students and postgraduate researchers, were held.

In the main panel discussions, which featured a number of CEOs from the top Islamic institutions in Oman, liquidity was a particularly pressing issue. “Today’s discussion about liquidity in the market especially is very important.

This has been one of the main challenges for Islamic banks, the fact that liquidity is not available for us given there is no framework yet for our novel industry when it comes to managing liquidity and meeting the requirements of these institutions in a fairly new sector,” Khalid Al Kayed, CEO of Bank Nizwa, said.

In addition to Islamic finance and economic diversification, contemporary issues in Islamic finance including electronic and digital currencies, and the various types of Sukuk and issuance procedures came under the spotlight. The conference also reviewed the challenges and solutions of banks, Takaful insurance, reinsurance, the governance of Islamic financial institutions, the legality of the Sukuk, its legal aspects and the Sultanate’s experience of the issuance of Sukuk.

“We heard from experts and specialists on Islamic banking as they reflect on the development of this crucial sector which has provided customers with Shari’ah-compliant banking solutions. It is also well known that the Islamic banking system has played an important role in meeting the needs of the people by providing high-quality banking services.

This is confirmed by the growth witnessed and is also the result of prudent guidance from the Central Bank of Oman, which spares no effort in providing all support to Islamic banks in the Sultanate,” Moosa Al Jadidi, COO, Alizz Islamic Bank, said.

Islamic finance has had a transformative role on communities across the Sultanate of Oman, according to the head of Sohar Islamic. “It was an honour to support and be a part of the 2nd Salalah International Financial Islamic Conference. The event brought together international industry experts to share knowledge and the latest research regarding the Islamic financial sector and products; making our participation in and support of the event natural.

By bringing together stakeholders and researchers from across the world, the event has helped further the growth of Shari’ah-compliant banking in Oman and facilitated greater understanding among all practitioners for the benefit of our customers, partners, and stakeholders.

We are pleased to have sponsored and been a part of this pivotal annual forum, and we look forward to continuing to play a strategic role in advancing Islamic finance within the nation,” said Salim Khamis Al Maskari, DGM and Head of Sohar Islamic.

In early August, The High Shari’ah Supervisory Authority held its second meeting of the year at the premises of Central Bank of Oman. The meeting was chaired by Sheikh Dr. Kahlan Bin Nabhan Al Kharoosi and was attended by all the members.

In the meeting, the Authority made detailed deliberations on the issues presented to them with respect to various Shari’ah aspects relating to Islamic banking, including Shari’ah-compliant liquidity management products for Islamic banking entities.

Accordingly, the Authority gave its opinions and observations on these issues in light of the discussions. The Authority was also briefed about a follow-up report on the actions taken on the issues discussed in the previous meeting, according to the Central Bank of Oman.