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Monday, April 21, 2014  

Future of Islamic banking promising, says Shihab
MUSCAT Islamic banking is making steady progress in the Sultanate since the promulgation of the Royal Decree No. 69/2012. It has a promising future, said HH Sayyid Shihab Bin Tariq Al Said, His Majesty’s Adviser.

He was addressing the Oman Second Islamic Banking and Finance Conference, which began here on Sunday under his patronage.

The two-day event is organised by Al Iktissad Wa Al Aamal Group in association with the Central Bank of Oman (CBO).

Organising Islamic banking conferences gives clear indication that its development and growth is good for the Sultanate and for the whole Islamic world, he said.

Although the Islamic banking industry is still in the initial stage, it has resulted in remarkable activity in the banking sector, said CBO Executive President HE Hamoud Bin Sangour Al Zadjali.

It has forced many licensed commercial banks to increase their capitals to open independent Islamic windows to operate alongside with the two licensed Islamic banks, he said.

The capitalisation of the Islamic banking in the Sultanate now stands at 500 million rials. The Islamic banking windows and licensed banks should do more in its effort to attract savings, diversify new
financial tools and focus on the quality of banking services, he added.

Process is underway with the Ministry of Finance to consider issuing Islamic Sukuk in the Sultanate, which is expected to be issued by the end of this year or early next year, he said.

Some Gulf banks have expressed their desire to open Islamic banks in the Sultanate, he added.

The CBO has provided the licensed Islamic banks and Islamic windows of the commercial banks with an opportunity to operate freely in the market for some time. Later on, it will assess the condition and the size of the local market.

Zadjali said that there are no complexities before the Islamic banks, because the systems developed by the banks are among the best practices.

The practices are approved by the Sharia supervisory boards and the Islamic banks and windows are required to abide by them.

Union of Arab Banks Chairman Adnan Ahmed Youssef, while delivering the keynote speech, said that the Islamic banking in its second year in the Sultanate is worthy of appreciation.

Deputy CEO of Iktissad group Faisal Abu Zaki said the launch of Islamic banking will expand the base of the market and will create healthy competition.

Three sessions were held on Sunday. The first session ‘Establishing a Solid and Supportive Legal Framework for Islamic Banking and Finance’ focused on improving the regulatory infrastructure and supporting harmonisation and linkages among different jurisdiction.

The second session, ‘Islamic Banking and Finance in the Sultanate of Oman: Present Status and Future Trends’ discussed the Royal Decree No.69/2012.

The third session on supporting Oman real economy and entrepreneurships, discussed Islamic banks’ role in developing new financing means and local products to respond to the needs of the market.

Many GCC central bank governors along with CEOs of the Arab and Islamic banks attended the sessions.

The opening ceremony was attended by many of Their Highnesses, Their Excellencies, undersecretaries, banking officials, representative of the regulatory and Sharia bodies from inside and outside the Sultanate.

Oman News Agency
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