Coinciding with the 46th National Day, Bank Muscat’s Imprints for the nation is a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership in social responsibility with four key programmes to inculcate financial literacy, promote sustainable tourism, sustain green environment and encourage enriched lifestyle.
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 bank has introduced Imprints, a first-of-its-kind social responsibility initiative aimed at making distinct imprints for the nation.
Highly ambitious in its scope and reach, the CSR 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 for the nation include four key programmes to inculcate financial literacy, promote sustainable tourism, sustain green environment and encourage enriched lifestyle.
Reaching out to the nation against the backdrop of prevailing economic and social situation, the Imprints initiative was launched recently at a grand ceremony under the auspices of HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Said Al Kalbani, Minister of Social Development. The ceremony held at Bank Muscat head office was attended by under-secretaries, dignitaries, senior government officials and corporate executives.
Commending the Imprints initiative. HE Sheikh Mohammed said: “Complementing government efforts, the concept of social responsibility for the private sector is gaining momentum in the Sultanate and we congratulate Bank Muscat for the new initiative. I wish the bank all success in achieving the desired objectives of the programme in benefiting a large segment of citizens and urge all corporates to emulate this fine example of promoting social responsibility in Oman.”
Sheikh Khalid bin Mustahail al Mashani, Chairman of Bank Muscat, stressed that the Imprints initiative was aimed at strengthening the efforts of the government in social responsibility and ensuring support to different segments of society. Sheikh Khalid said: “Bank Muscat is proud to be the pioneer of CSR activities in the banking sector in Oman. Over the years, the bank has implemented several initiatives benefiting various segments of society. The Imprints underscore the bank’s commitment to complementing the government efforts in social responsibility.”
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 reflect the bank’s focus to set benchmark standards in social responsibility.
AbdulRazak Ali Issa, Chief Executive, said: “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.”
Bank Muscat has drawn up a wide ranging plan on the Imprints platform to demonstrate its commitment to be the most exemplary corporate citizen in Oman and thereby motivate others to follow suit with similar initiatives benefiting the nation.
The Imprints programme to inculcate financial literacy will focus on 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.
Targeting school students, the bank, in association with the Ministry of Education, will launch ‘Little Investor’ programme to educate Omani children on the basics of financial literacy and investment, implementing an already successful model by Meethaq Islamic Banking of teaching school students to manage personal finance, including savings. The aim is to develop children’s entrepreneurial thinking and skills from an early age.
Taking the financial literacy programme to a higher level, the bank’s Management and senior officials will attend financial coaching clinic to share their expertise with SMEs.
Aimed at inculcating a strong savings culture, the bank, in association with the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP), will also launch a communication campaign stressing the importance of financial literacy. Topics to be covered include savings, financial planning and identifying fraudulent communication on lottery and investment schemes.
In step with the government’s economic diversification programme, the Imprints initiative has embarked on a programme in association with the Ministry of Tourism to support start-ups, encouraging Omani entrepreneurship in the tourism sector. The bank will encourage Omani youth to focus on providing basic amenities at Oman’s tourist attractions, thereby ensuring a sustainable source of income for the local community.
The Imprints programme on 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, 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.
Reciprocating what the country has given to the people during the past 46 years under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, the Imprints initiative provides a strategic direction for the bank to consolidate social responsibility benefiting different segments of society.
The CSR and sustainability strategy pursued by Bank Muscat is focused on delivering long-term benefits to the community and the nation. As the nation’s leading financial institution, Bank Muscat aims to motivate corporates to provide the required support for social development initiatives.
Among the ongoing CSR initiatives by the bank, Green Sports has proven to be a thoroughly successful model for engaging the local community in establishing a modern sporting infrastructure in the country. The support to develop modern sports infrastructure across the Sultanate complements the government efforts in building a sporting nation.
The Green Sports concept was born out of a need to organise local football teams and to create a professional environment in which society members of all ages can participate in sporting and community activities.
Ten teams were chosen to mark the launch of Green Sports in 2012. Five years on, Green Sports now boasts 63 teams as part of its network of football fields located across the Sultanate.
In a unique contribution, the Green Sports initiative has created an ideal platform for social engagement among youth. The football fields developed as part of the Green Sports initiative are serving as a meeting place for children and youth to be engaged in social activities leading to development of strong community bonding and positive character traits. The fields are used to host various activities such as Ramadhan nights, group weddings and other community celebrations.
The Green Sports programme continues to gain from strength to strength with prominent members of the community involving in the team’s activities. Major tournaments are now being organised in the Green Sports fields, bringing a competitive edge to the game. The programme is run with the utmost transparency to ensure its continued success.
Jesr Al Mustaqbal educational support offered by the bank covers students from low income or social welfare families. The programme in partnership with the Ministry of Higher Education provides educational and vocational training support, including sponsorship to complete bachelor degree programmes.
During the early phase, the programme provided sponsorships to complete studies and obtain a diploma, or train in a profession with a guaranteed job placement. In many cases, vocational training did not suffice as majority of students aspired to obtain diplomas. Therefore, funds were provided to help students obtain diplomas from colleges and universities across the country. The programme was further developed in 2014, in partnership with the Ministry of Higher Education, to include sponsorship opportunities for students to complete bachelor degree programmes.
Students selected for the programme are followed closely to ensure their steady progress. The partnership with the government has proved successful and the programme has gone from strength to strength with 60 students currently enrolled in local colleges and universities for bachelor degrees programmes alone.
The social impact of the programme is immense as many students hail from large families comprising 12 people or more, where the level of education is very low. Jesr Al Mustaqbal beneficiaries serve as great influencers on their families and the future generation in achieving a better quality of life.
The Tadhamun programme launched by Bank Muscat in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development reaches out to social welfare families across the Sultanate, helping them to cope with the arid weather conditions. The programme is focused on distribution of basic electronic home appliances, including air-conditioners and refrigerators.
As part of the bank’s sustainability vision, the distribution of basic home appliances to an average 150 families every year contributes to a safe, healthy environment in which children can be raised and adults enjoy comfortable lives. Oman experiences a sub-tropical, dry and humid climate necessitating the requirements for refrigerators and air-conditioning units for the wellbeing of people. This helps the families to utilise their limited income on more important requirements.
Bank Muscat has the largest network of branches in the country, therefore staff at all levels are encouraged to join in the distribution of appliances to families in their areas. This further reiterates the bank’s commitment to partnership with the government and the local community.
To date, the programme has successfully distributed refrigerators, freezers, air-conditioning units, washing machines, ovens/cooking ranges and TVs to over 650 families. The bank has also renovated two homes belonging to social welfare families.
Since its inception, the Corporate Social Responsibility department of the flagship financial services provider in Oman has taken major strides in nurturing a socially responsible culture in the bank. All CSR programmes draw from the bank’s values of leadership and partnership, creating a positive impact on society. As the bank progresses on the path of sustainable development, new opportunities are explored. In line with the corporate ethos, bank employees are engaged in creating opportunities to help the community through various initiatives.