Islamic banking growth could slow in future: H E Amri

Muscat - 

Oman’s Islamic banking industry, which has been witnessing robust growth rates in the past few years, may witness a slowdown in growth in near future as the weak oil prices and lower economic growth could weigh on sentiments, H E Tahir bin Salim al Amri, executive president of the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) said on Tuesday.

Giving a keynote speech at the IFN Oman Forum, a day-long Islamic finance seminar at the Grand Millennium Muscat, H E Amri said the average growth in Oman’s Islamic banking sector remained at an elated level for the first five years, adding, ‘but due to low oil prices and subsequent other financial constraints which have impacted the overall banking industry, the demand for Sharia’a-complaint products could see some slowdown in near future.’

Organised by REDmoney Events, IFN Oman Forum brought together senior banking officials, regulators, insurance companies and other key industry players to discuss the challenges and opportunities in Oman’s Islamic banking sector.

“Over the past five years, Islamic banking in Oman has been growing at brisk pace. Today the number of banking branches offering Islamic finance have risen to 76 and these are well spread at different parts of the sultanate,” H E Amri said.

He said Islamic banking assets in Oman accounted for 12.1 per cent of total banking sector assets in December 2017. “The higher growth of Islamic banking in initial years was driven by many factors, including low base and readily available market,” H E Amri said.
Stressing on the need for innovative products to boost growth, he said future would be very challenging and the industry needs to do more to support growth.

During the IFN Oman Forum, panel discussions were also organised in which delegates from various stakeholders discussed issues related to Shaira’a-compliant financial products.

Panel discussions were followed by a student workshop, which was organised to provide an understanding and an overview of Islamic retail banking, capital market and regulatory issues in Oman’s Sharia’a banking and finance industry. The sessions saw the participation of Arif al Zaabi, acting head of retail banking and Mohammed Sajari, head of Sharia’a structure at Bank Nizwa; as well as Asad Qayyum, a senior associate for Al Busaidy, Mansoor Jamal & Co, among others.

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