MUSCAT: Saving is a positive behaviour for any economy, said Rashad Ali al Musafir, acting CEO, Bank Sohar.

He was speaking to Muscat Daily on the sidelines of the launch of Bank Sohar’s Al Mumayaz Savings Scheme 2015 at Grand Hyatt Muscat, on Tuesday.

“Saving is a positive behaviour in any economy. But in GCC economies, saving levels are not as high as other economies and hence it is important that the habit of saving is encouraged,” he said, adding that introducing rewards programmes like the Al Mumayaz Savings Scheme is a useful way to teach people how to save. “All the banks are responsible for encouraging this habit among people within Oman, and especially at a young age.”

Musafir said that for an economy like Oman, saving is a beneficial factor for two reasons. Firstly, because most of Oman’s consumer goods are imported from other countries, and secondly as the economy is driven by government spending.

“[In case of Oman], if you’re encouraging spending on consumer products, then you’re encouraging an outflow of funds. If you look at other economies that produce most of their goods, there local spending is encouraged, but for economies like us, the savings habit is better as we depend largely on government spending.”

The more people save, the more banks can lend to companies so as to implement big infrastructure and other projects, he added.

Real estate and projects such as establishing a rail network and development of ports, are some areas that Bank Sohar is interested in and holds stakes in.

Speaking about the 2015 budget, Musafir said the government was committed to spending on the projects, despite the drop in oil prices.

SOURCE: Muscat Daily