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Forum highlights promising growth prospects of Islamic banking

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His Highness Sayyid Mohammed bin Thuwaini al Said presided over the opening of the 1st Omani Forum on Islamic Banking, which focused on the theme, ‘Prospects for Growth and Development in line with Oman Vision 2040’. The event was organised by Al Roya Publishing with the support of Oman Banks Association.

In remarks to journalists, HH Sayyid Mohammed said the forum showcased the successful role of the Islamic banking sector in the Sultanate of Oman and its prospects for growth. Oman’s renewed renaissance, he noted, rests on a number of sectors, including the banking sector. Islamic banking, he stressed, has a promising role in the achievement of these goals.

Hatem bin Hamad al Taie, Chairman of Al Roya Group, said the event takes a deeper look at the Islamic banking sector nearly ten years since its launch in Oman. The Islamic banking sector is based on its ability to develop and meet the aspirations of the individuals and organizations inclined to deal in sharia-compliant banking and financial products. Regulatory frameworks established by the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) will enable the growth of Islamic banking and its market share in the Omani banking sector.

In his speed, Al Taie underlined the needs for Islamic banks and windows to strengthen their preparedness in the face of cybersecurity challenges, in light of the growth of financial crimes around the world and the adoption of sophisticated criminal methods. He explained that the Central Bank of Oman - in its capacity as the regulatory authority for the banking sector - has put in place many controls and precautionary measures to ensure that electronic banking enjoys the highest standards of digital security.

Prof Dr Saeed al Muharrami of the College of Economics and Political Science at Sultan Qaboos University, spoke on the ‘Developmental Role of Financing and Investment Policies in Omani Islamic Banks’. He touched upon the determinants of the banking sector and the path of Islamic banking and the challenges facing its development contributions in order to achieve an effective contribution that guarantees more development benefits.

At the conclusion of the working paper, Al Muharrami concluded that the policies of investing money in Omani Islamic banks do not take into account the developmental role, given their clear reliance on short-term financing and investment, in their desire to achieve quick profitability and high liquidity, thus becoming similar to what traditional banks offer. He pointed out that there is a clear shortcoming of Omani Islamic banks in contributing to the achievement of economic and social development, as their long-term investment policies represented a small percentage of the total investment of funds, and thus Omani Islamic banks did not contribute to economic and social development in the manner that is hoped for.

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