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Bank Muscat’s Imprints CSR initiative receives thumping endorsement

MUSCAT, 13 November 2016 – Leading by example is the forte of Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate. As the nation marks the 46th National Day commemorating the glorious achievements of Oman under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, the Imprints corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative launched by the bank has received a thumping endorsement across the nation.

Highly ambitious in its scope and reach, the Imprints initiative is a unique public-private partnership in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Tourism, Muscat Municipality and the Public Authority for Consumer Protection.

In line with its 'Let's Do More' vision and commitment to partnership in sustainable national development programmes, the focus of Imprints include four key programmes to inculcate financial literacy, promote sustainable tourism, sustain green environment and encourage enriched lifestyle.

The new CSR initiative stemming from the Royal directive of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said to accord priority for social responsibility is the first-of-its-kind in Oman in terms of its scope and reach, uniting different segments in making a big difference in reciprocating to what the country has given us. The initiative marks a big step in the public-private partnership to make lasting contributions to society and the nation.

As the leading bank in the Sultanate, Bank Muscat is at the forefront in contributing to society and thereby setting a fine example for the corporate sector to develop social responsibility as corporate culture. The Imprints for the nation reiterate the bank's commitment to set benchmark standards in social responsibility.

In step with the government's economic diversification programme, the Imprints initiative has drawn up a programme in association with the Ministry of Tourism to support start-ups, encouraging Omani entrepreneurship in the tourism industry. The bank will encourage Omani youth to focus on providing basic amenities at Oman's tourist attractions, thereby ensuring sustainable sources of income for the local community.

Sayyid Adil Bin Al Mardas Al Busaidi, Adviser at the Ministry of Tourism, congratulated Bank Muscat for the Imprints initiative, adding that it will have a significant impact through the various programmes and activities aimed at serving the community and the nation. Against the backdrop of prevailing economic and social situation in Oman, the Imprints initiative opens new opportunities for the people.

Al Busaidi said: “The initiative focused on the tourism sector will be a boon for start-ups by Omani youth. The tourism sector is poised to play a major role in the country's economic diversification programme and opportunities are available to provide basic services in the country's tourist attractions."

Al Busaidi added: “The Ministry of Tourism is happy to participate and co-operate with the Imprints initiative through the development of start-ups in the tourism sector benefiting Omani youth who will be supported by Bank Muscat and the ministry to set up companies offering basic services for tourists at the country's tourist attractions. The initiative will encourage Omani youth to come up with new ideas targeted at the tourism sector, especially in developing basic infrastructure facilities for tourists. The initiative is aimed at encouraging innovation and creativity in establishing successful start-ups which will provide a sustainable source of income for Omani youth in their residential areas which have tourism appeal."

“The Ministry of Tourism will co-operate with Bank Muscat to ensure the success of this initiative, which will contribute to the growth and development of the tourism sector. The ministry welcomes co-operation with the private sector and has implemented various programmes to promote the tourism sector in Oman. We wish Bank Muscat all success for the Imprints initiative to be a role model for the corporate sector in the field of social responsibility," Al Busaidi noted.

In the Imprints programme to promote financial literacy, Bank Muscat will create an online portal, game or app for individuals to access financial literacy courses for free. The content will be tailor-made for different age groups, including college students. In all, the bank aims to certify 200,000 Omanis in financial literacy. For those who are not familiar with technology, classroom learning will be arranged.

Dr. Said bin Khamis Al Kaabi, Chairman of the Public Authority for Consumer Protection, congratulated Bank Muscat for launching the Imprints national initiative. Dr. Al Kaabi said: “We are pleased to co-operate and partner with the bank in the implementation of one of the important programmes to encourage savings and promote financial literacy among citizens. The important role played by Bank Muscat in the area of social responsibility is appreciable as such initiatives contribute to strengthening partnership between the public and private sectors in community service."

Dr. Al Kaabi said that within the activities of the Imprints initiative and in partnership with Bank Muscat, the Public Authority for Consumer Protection will carry out a number of awareness campaigns, media and marketing activities, which will contribute to promoting the culture of thrift and savings in Omani society. The campaign will also educate citizens on identifying fraudulent financial schemes. The PACP is committed to joining hands with the private sector in the implementation of programmes and initiatives that serve the community in various fields. Dr. Al Kaabi urged everyone to contribute to the success of Imprints and other social responsibility initiatives, expressing pride in the role played by Bank Muscat in the field of social responsibility and wished the programme success in achieving its objectives.

The 'Little Investor' programme to educate Omani children on the basics of financial literacy and investment, follows an already successful model by Meethaq Islamic Banking of teaching school students to manage personal finance, including savings. The aim is to develop the children's entrepreneurial thinking and skills.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamdan al Tobi, Consultant at the Ministry of Education, expressed happiness in the partnership between the ministry and Bank Muscat in the Imprints national initiative. He congratulated Bank Muscat for the unique social responsibility initiative aimed at strengthening partnership between the public and private sectors in the implementation of programmes and activities benefiting Omani society.

Sheikh Al Tobi said: “The Imprints programme to inculcate savings habit among children, pursued in co-operation with the Ministry of Education, will go a long way in moulding a generation aware of their responsibilities in building a strong nation. Children are the future generations of Oman and the programme to inculcate the savings habit among them will prove beneficial for Oman."

Sheikh Al Tobi said that the social responsibility role played by Bank Muscat was a great encouragement for corporate institutions to launch similar initiatives benefiting society in various fields. “The Ministry of Education is keen to co-operate with all institutions for the benefit of communities and we wish Bank Muscat and the Imprints initiative all success," H.E Sheikh Al Tobi said.

The Imprints programme to sustain green environment will focus on energy saving initiatives starting with a pilot Meethaq branch using solar energy, followed by two more branches run on green energy.

The energy saving programme to be implemented in association with International Finance Corporation (IFC) will also highlight energy efficient products for homes and SMEs. The bank will provide special incentives like lower charges and interest rates on Meethaq and baituna mortgage finance for houses featuring energy efficient design and  fixtures.

The bank will organise educational workshops for the public to raise awareness on alternative sources of energy in the country. Industry experts will address these workshops.

The highlight of the Imprints green initiative will be a public garden to be gifted to the nation, in association with Muscat Municipality, as a mark of the bank's commitment to the nation on the occasion of Oman's 46th National Day celebrations. Aimed at encouraging enriched healthy lifestyle and sustainable environment, the public garden will feature exercise equipment and fixtures run on efficient alternative sources of energy, providing the local community an ideal place for relaxation.

Recalling what the country has given to the people during the past 46 years under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, Bank Muscat aims to make lasting imprints for the nation as part of a strategic direction to consolidate social responsibility benefiting different segments of society.