Muscat, Sultanate of Oman – Acknowledging the need to battle the repercussions of COVID-19 and extend support to others in the industry, Bank Nizwa participated in the online Islamic Finance Virtual Forum 2020 that discussed ‘COVID-19 Economic Implications, Islamic Finance and the Way Forward’. Bank Nizwa’s CEO, Khaled Al Kayed, played an active role as a panelist for the first discussion titled ‘Reassessing the potential of Islamic finance to provide economic panaceas in and post COVID-19’.
The online forum was organized by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) on 13 March, 2020 and witnessed the support of key individuals and organizations in the sector. The industry leaders came together and discussed the effects of the pandemic and the role of Islamic financial institutions in line with government directives and Islamic ethics.
The first discussion of the forum was centered around rebranding the potency of Islamic finance by focusing on its risk-sharing principles for enhanced financial inclusions in time of COVID-19. It also highlighted the renewed responsibility, expectations of Islamic banks and Sukuk, the need for liquidity management solutions, and the role of governance and standard-setting bodies in this period. Speaking on the subject, Al Kayed said, “At a time like this, the practice of societal and country-wise risk sharing should be more pronounced. We should turn our focus on the need for financial inclusions and look at using technology for our mutual benefits. Above all, we should adopt a more philanthropic mode of operation.”
Apart from the effect the pandemic has had on humanity, the domino effect can be seen casting ripples through various sectors. There has been a revision of GDP growths, forecasted contraction of the global economy by -2.8%, and an alarming increase in unemployment as companies struggle to stay afloat.
Doing its part to alleviate the distress caused by the pandemic, Islamic banks and financial institutions have introduced various precautionary measures, while multilateral institutions like the Islamic Development Bank have launched US$2.3 billion as aid package for its member countries as well as for Muslim communities in non-member countries.
Commenting upon the online Islamic Finance Virtual Forum 2020, Al Kayed said, “The forum has thrown light on the various challenges posed by COVID-19, aided us in drawing better speculations about the near future, and also helped us see the light at the end of the tunnel by showing us potential solutions that can be offered through Islamic finance.”
Encouraging the citizens to come together to battle the implications of COVID-19, Bank Nizwa the leading Islamic Bank in Oman, has already opened an account to receive public donations for the Ministry of Health to support their initiatives. The Bank has also allocated RO 600,000 to the government, to aid its efforts in combating the COVID-19 while offering the necessary support to its impacted customers. Moreover, the bank has collaborated with Al Rozna Restaurant to distribute 1300 Iftar pack to the needy families in a daily basis.