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RO1.9bn Iskan programme launched to finance housing loans

8 Jan 2024 Oman Housing Bank launches RO1.9bn housing loan programme Iskan By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – Oman Housing Bank launched a programme called Iskan on Monday with support of the Ministry of Finance. Iskan aims to accelerate the provision of financing to applicants on the waiting list of the bank and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning.

The Ministry of Finance stated that it has approved provision of additional housing loans with the aim of accelerating access to subsidised loans for citizens worth RO1.9bn over the next five years, covering over 61,000 applications on the waiting list of Oman Housing Bank (OHB) and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning (MHUP).

In a statement, OHB said the Iskan programme has been launched in line with Royal Directives of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, reflecting his firm commitment to fostering cooperation between OHB and various local banks within the sultanate to accelerate the provision of subsidised housing finance for citizens.

The launch was held under the patronage of Sultan bin Salem al Habsi, Minister of Finance, in the presence of dignitaries, as well as experts and professionals from the business sector.

Following the Royal Directives, OHB adopted innovative digital technologies to streamline the application process and engage national talents in this initiative. Additionally, the bank has signed agreements with various local banks to finance housing applications, covering both conventional and Islamic banking services.

At the launch, Moosa bin Masoud al Jadidi, CEO of OHB, made a visual presentation of a detailed description of the programme. He emphasised that the initiative is aimed at cutting short the long waiting period for eligible citizens.

“The programme will speed up distribution of housing finance through the dedicated electronic platform – Iskan – allowing citizens to submit their data and documents, know their turn and choose their preferred bank for securing housing finance, in line with the criteria set by OHB. Additionally, it will outline the eligibility criteria, the targeted income groups and the fees individuals must pay for the interest rate.”

OHB will upload lists of eligible citizens on the Iskan electronic platform according to priority. As their turn nears, individuals will receive an SMS alert with a direct link to the application process on the platform. This will enable them to complete all necessary steps to obtain housing finance, including application submission, data entry, financial access, and evaluation of the whole process.

Iskan aims to significantly reduce waiting times from application to finance disbursement by utilising advanced digital technologies, efficiently meeting citizens’ needs.

Citizen will find comprehensive details about housing finance options on the platform. It will act as a comprehensive umbrella, addressing the requirements of citizens eligible for housing finance through a thoughtful approach ensuring accessibility and inclusiveness.

The maximum amount provided by OHB is RO60,000 and up to RO80,000 for citizens interested in purchasing housing units in Sultan Haitham City and integrated city projects spearheaded by MHUP.

Statistics indicate that since its inception in 1977 till the end of 2022, OHB extended over RO1.5bn in subsidised housing finance.

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