Muscat: Waqf sector is considered one of the main drivers of funds growth in the Sultanate, said Asaad bin Hilal Al-Kharusi, acting Chief Operating Officer of Alizz Islamic Bank. He added that though the sector is still new in the Sultanate, it is just a matter of time before people realise how Waqf foundations will take charge of asset management using a different approach.
Al Kharusi was speaking at the First Waqf Forum organised by Imam Jabir Bin Zaid Waqf Foundation (JBZF) in partnership with the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs under the auspices of Sheikh Al Fadhl Mohammed al Harthi, Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers. Alizz Islamic Bank was among the key sponsors of First Waqf Forum organised at the Sheraton Hotel.
He added that cooperation and investment with Waqf foundations will deliver several impressive results through endowment, experience, efforts and money which constitutes the main pillar of real investments. In the same context, he stressed the importance of calling upon all Waqf foundations and funds to raise awareness about their definition, roles and activities.
Elaborating on Sukuk, Al-Kharusi said, “We had previous experience with Sukuk. Though it is easier to issue Sukuk to institutions and major investors, small investors have the right to join the investment sector and benefit from potential opportunities. Therefore, we made an excellent decision to offer such an opportunity to small investors. But before that, we launched a major marketing campaign that covered main cities across different governorates to educate people about Sukuk, given that it was the first issue directed to individuals. We received a positive response as about one-third of the subscription was from individuals.”
The forum aimed to provide a platform for Waqf foundations, experts and advocates to meet and discuss the promotion of this sector. The forum witnessed three panel discussions on the topics of “Waqf Partnership - Cooperation and Integration”, “Mechanism of Management of Waqf Foundations” and “Investment in Waqf Foundations” with 17 speakers. The panels highlighted cooperation and integration in the Waqf sector, its management mechanisms and investment in Waqf establishments.
In addition, the forum organised three workshops covering topics related to the endowment sector, including governance of endowment foundations, feasibility studies for endowment investment projects, and promotion of endowment foundations.
The forum also witnessed the signing of a number of MoUs and cooperation notes with various establishments in the Sultanate.
It is noteworthy that the first endowment forum aims to promote cooperation between Waqf foundations and actors in this sector on the one hand, and its sponsors, on the other hand, through the exchange of experiences and knowledge, and the developing of various aspects related to endowments administration at Waqf foundations. The forum also acted as a catalyst to highlight the significance of Waqf foundations and their role in societal development and promoting partnerships between Waqf foundations on the one hand, and public-private sector institutions on the other hand.