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Monday, 23 February 2015

Islamic financing aiding robust growth in Oman's banking sector

Muscat: Oman is a prime location for the Islamic finance sector to thrive and statistics show that it will do so, was the main conclusion of the Accounting for Islamic Finance event held by ACCA Oman's members' advisory committee (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).

Sponsored and held at Bank Muscat Meethaq, Sulaiman Al Harthy, Group General Manager of Islamic Banking at Bank Muscat and Khalid Yousaf, Director of Islamic Finance Advisory Services at KPMG Oman spoke at the event.

Sulaiman Al Harthy said: "Meethaq is proud to host the ACCA member event Accounting for Islamic finance as part of initiatives reflecting the bank's focus on maintaining the leadership role in Islamic banking and finance. Islamic banking in the Sultanate is contributing to the growth and development of the banking sector in Oman and Meethaq is committed to sustaining its contribution to Oman's economy in light of the emerging trends."

"With strong economic growth projections, significant government expenditure on infrastructure projects and a young, Shari'a-sensitive population, Oman has all the ingredients required for a successful Islamic finance sector. Apart from Islamic liquidity management, the challenge is in tackling long-term funding requirements," he added.

Islamic banking assets
"Islamic banking assets in Oman stood at $2.8 billion in June 2014, or 4.4 per cent of total banking assets, since the launch of Islamic finance less than two years ago in January 2013. This growth is expected to continue and Islamic banking assets are projected to grow to between $5 billion to $7 billion by 2018. The growth is driven by a combination of the enabling environment fostered by regulators and a young, Shari'a-sensitive population."

"Meethaq has adopted the best practices in Islamic banking and finance worldwide to combine a robust model which protects customers and complements the Islamic banking industry. In just over two years of operations, Meethaq has attained a leading position in the Islamic banking industry in Oman with over 50 per cent of financing receivables."

Growing public awareness
KPMG director Khalid Yousaf said: "Growth of Islamic Finance in Oman has been slow but steady. 2015 is likely to see all Islamic Banks and Windows break-even and turn profitable, merely within two years of start-up operations. Growing public awareness will feed further growth in the coming years.
"Though still small compared to conventional finance, Islamic Finance has created its niche space globally. Its transactions being largely participation-based, appeal not only to faith-based investors but also to conservative risk-takers shunning high levels of leveraging."  

Maqbool Al Lawati, chair of ACCA's members' advisory committee in Oman, said: "The event highlighted products available in Oman for Islamic banking and how successful the sector has been in the past few years. 

"More than 60 ACCA members and key employers attended the event which I think proves just how interesting and important this topic is," he added.

(Times Of Oman / 21 February 2015)
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