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World Health Organization thanks Saudi Arabia for contributing $500 million to combat Coronavirus

The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Tedros Adhanom thanked Saudi Arabia for donating 500 million dollars to support the international efforts in combating and preventing the spread of novel Coronavirus (Covid-19). Saudi Arabia will allocate 150 million dollars to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation, 150 million dollars to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations and 200 million dollars to the other international and regional health organizations and programs. The novel Coronavirus has killed more than 150,000 people worldwide and infected over 2.2 million people in 193 countries and territories.

Qatari humanitarian organisation pledges $43mn to UNHCR Refugee Zakat Fund

Qatar based Thani Bin Abdullah Bin Thani Al-Thani Humanitarian Fund will contribute $43mn to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Refugee Zakat Fund. UNHCR also launched the findings of its 2020 Islamic Philanthropy Report. According to the report, in 2019 the Refugee Zakat Fund received $43mn, including the largest ever single contribution made by Thani Bin Abdullah Bin Thani Al-Thani Humanitarian Fund of over $35mn. The Fund’s Zakat contribution has helped support 164,696 vulnerable families. The donation has provided much-needed cash assistance to fulfill immediate needs, as well as, the provision of food.

Refugee Zakat Fund received over $43 million last year

The Refugee Zakat Fund had received a total of more than $ 43 million in contributions during the past year, including an individual contribution that is the largest ever made. It was made by the Qatari Thani Bin Abdullah Bin Thani Al Thani Humanitarian Fund with a value of more than $ 35 million. On March 25, the UNHCR launched an urgent appeal for $255 million to reduce risks and minimize the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in vulnerable communities. UNHCR launched the Refugee Zakat Fund in 2019 as a trustworthy platform for distributing Zakat funds to help refugees and internally displaced persons from the most vulnerable groups.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Completes Trade Finance Distribution Transaction Using Blockchain

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has successfully completed a secondary market transaction using TradeAssets, a blockchain-powered trade finance e-marketplace. TradeAssets developed its blockchain-powered trade finance platform with an initial focus on secondary market transactions. In 2019, the company launched the platform with 25 banks, most of them in emerging markets such as Bangladesh. Currently, the platform has over 150 members with many of them being from the Middle East.

First Rs200bn #sukuk issue launched via stock market

Pakistan's state-owned Power Holding announced the 10-year Sharia-compliant sukuk up to Rs200 billion through the Pakistan Stock Exchange. The amount generated from the Pakistan Energy Sukuk-II will also be used for the settlement of partial circular debt related to the power sector. For the first time, ordinary investors have been allowed to participate in buying a government security. The value of each sukuk unit is placed at Rs5,000. The minimum bid size would be 20 units or Rs100,000. In another development, the SECP has relaxed the time for maturity requirement of government Ijara Sukuk for Sharia-complaint money market sub funds of Pension Fund. The SECP has allowed the Sharia-compliant pension funds to invest in government sukuk from three to five years.

Alvarez & Marsal administrators to ailing NMC healthcare group

Richard Fleming, Mark Firmin and Ben Cairns of Alvarez & Marsal Europe have been appointed joint administrators of Abu Dhabi-based NMC Health. In February the company uncovered $335m (£258m) in previously undisclosed loans to related parties, and a further investigation by PwC unearthed over $2.7bn (£2bn) in undisclosed debt. The administrators have replaced the NMC board, stating that an immediate priority is to implement corporate governance changes in the group. In February, the Financial Conduct Authority launched an investigation into NMC's activities after the company's shares were suspended from trading on the London Stock Exchange.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation holds virtual symposium on COVID-19

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held a videoconference on the COVID-19 outbreak. The symposium reviewed Sharia provisions on isolating confirmed and suspected patients; social distancing; acts of worship, including congregational prayer, Friday prayer and Ramadan fasting during the lockdown; personal hygiene; and adherence to health directives issued by authorities. The symposium followed an extraordinary meeting of the OIC Steering Committee on Health on COVID-19 held a few days ago, which called on jurists and preachers to urge Muslims to follow the true teachings of Islam in terms of hygiene and adhering to the required preventive measures.

Ayman Amin Sejiny, CEO at Islamic Development Bank Group

Ayman Amin Sejiny has been the chief executive officer of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) since October 2018. The ICD is the private sector arm of the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank Group. Recently, ICD announced a rapid response initiative to combat the repercussions of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by allocating $250 million in emergency funding. ICD will aid the private health care industries of affected member countries. ICD will also work closely with more than 100 local and regional financial institutions so that they can continue to finance small- and medium-sized enterprises.

RM100b corporate bonds, #sukuk issuances to be expected

The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) is expecting up to RM100 billion worth of corporate bonds and sukuk issuance this year. The regulator said the Covid-19 outbreak and the resultant disruption on businesses have affected fundraising activities. Thus any non-payment of profit arising from the current challenging operating landscape is very likely due to credit rather than Shariah issues and would therefore be dealt with from a credit perspective. SC deputy CEO Datuk Zainal Izlan Zainal Abidin said that Malaysia continues to maintain its leadership in the Islamic capital markets (ICMs). The SC noted that ICM represented 63.57% of Malaysia’s capital market, with market size of RM2.04 trillion as of December 2019, an 8.23% growth over 2018. The SC added that the Islamic fund management industry also witnessed new and innovative investment product offerings. These include Islamic exchange-traded funds based on gold, SRI Islamic funds, as well as social and green sukuk.

ADCB to lead NMC Health lenders group formed to hold talks on $6.6bn debt

NMC Health's biggest creditors have set up a coordinating committee, taking a major step toward restructuring the $6.6 billion debt of the hospital operator. The company asked Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) to chair a coordinating committee of debtholders. Deloitte and Clifford Chance have been appointed to advise the committee while Lazard will work with its chair. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Barclays and Standard Chartered will join Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank to form an initial steering group that will lead talks with NMC. NMC is being run by administrators Alvarez & Marsal after succumbing to creditor demands. NMC Health was suspended in February amid allegations of fraud. It has revealed more than $4 billion of undisclosed borrowings, pushing its total debt to $6.6 billion.

#Malaysia’s BIMB Investment launches Shariah-ESG robo-advisor

BIMB Investment launched a robo-intelligence investing platform focused on sustainable and Shariah-ESG assets. BEST Invest will give investors access to a suite of BIMB Investment’s Shariah-ESG unit trust funds across asset classes including global equities, Asia Pacific equities, sukuk, and money market. BIMB Investment became an official signatory of the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) in July last year. At the time, the company’s CEO said it had integrated more than 250 ESG metrics in its investment process since 2015. The new robo-advisor will allow users to either start investing for themselves or enable the system to identify and select the best investment methods. Investments start at 10 ringgit with a zero sales charge.

#UK digital challenger bank Rizq eyeing summer launch

Rizq, a UK-based Islamic digital challenger bank is preparing for its launch this summer. Akmal Saleem, the fintech’s co-founder and CEO is positioning Rizq from the Muslim lifestyle perspective, so the new bank wants to solve mainstream banking issues for Muslims in the West. According to Saleem, Muslims in the UK still use conventional current accounts because they do not see a true alternative. Established in late February, Rizq will be both an app and web-based digital challenger bank. The company has applied for a license from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the registration is on track for acceptance by May 29. The digital challenger will offer a current account first and a premium account at a later stage. The company is working with a major card provider and will offer a debit card for both accounts.

#Egypt FRA eyes 5 #sukuk offerings in 2020

Egypt's Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) plans for five new sukuk offerings worth EGP 5 billion this year. In early April, FRA approved issuing the first-of-kind sukuk in favor of the Arab Company for Projects and Urban Development, a subsidiary of TMG Holding (TMGH). The total value of this Islamic financing facility is estimated at EGP 2 billion. Additionally, Sarwa Capital has been granted in July 2019 the country’s first sukuk issuer license by FRA. This gives Sarwa the green light to issue Islamic bonds through its sukuk arm, Sarwa Sukuk Company.

Govt to raise Rs225bln through Ijara #Sukuk auction in three months

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has issued the auction calendar for issuance of Rs225 billion sovereign Sukuk based on Ijarah. Pre-auction target is set at Rs75 billion for April, while similar amounts are set for May and June 2020. The latest issuance is the part of Rs700 billion worth Ijara Sukuk. The federal cabinet approved the launching of this bond early this month. The bond would help mobilise excessive funds available with Islamic banks and help the government to diversify its debt. Last week, the World Bank said the economic output was expected to contract sharply in Q4FY20, bringing overall FY20 growth to negative 1.3%.

#Sukuk auction announced to finance budget deficit

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) announced the auction for three-year Ijara Sukuk to raise some Rs 225 billion for the federal government. Recently, the federal cabinet approved the issuance of a five-year Ijara Sukuk to generate some Rs700 billion to meet the rising financial requirements for combating COVID-19. Three tenders will be conducted for the sale of the Rs 225 billion sukuk. The first auction will be held on April 16, 2020 for Rs 75 billion, the second on May 16 for Rs 75 billion and the third is scheduled for June 18, 2020 for Rs 75 billion. Pakistan has been issuing Sukuk since 2008 to provide liquidity to the domestic Islamic industry; however, demand for such instruments far surpasses their supply.

Administrators of NMC Health Revamp Company's Board

The administrators of troubled hospital operator NMC Health have announced a new board of directors. Previous board members, including executive chairman Faisal Belhoul have been removed. The move came after London's High Court on Thursday placed NMC Health into administration, on the application of one of its biggest lenders, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB). Michael Brenden Davis remains as interim chief executive officer and chief operating officer, but does not sit on the company's board.

COVID-19: Indonesian banks face challenging time but hopes remain

The spread of COVID-19 is expected to hit Indonesian banks’ performance this year, but analysts remain hopeful that the industry will still be resilient. The Financial Services Authority (OJK) recorded gross non-performing loan (NPL) ratio at 2.79% in February, the highest level since May last year. Loan growth, meanwhile, stood at 5.93% in the month, reflecting the lowest expansion since November 2009, as demand plunged. The rise in bad loan ratio is also expected to increase pressure on banks’ profitability, even on Indonesian banks, which are considered to be some of the most profitable in the world. Although Moody’s expects bank profitability to decrease, vice president Alka Anbarasu also said Indonesian banks could still survive during the challenging climate as they could absorb the increase in credit costs.

#Oman's Taageer Finance and Sohar disclose 4.67m rial exposure to NMC

Oman's Taageer Finance and Sohar International Bank disclosed they have exposures to NMC Health. Taageer has a 1.23 million rial (Dh11.72m) exposure to NMC, while Sohar International Banke's exposure stays at 3.45m rials. Last week NMC was placed in administration by a UK court on the application of one of its biggest lenders, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. The joint administrators from turnaround advisory firm Alvarez & Marsal will take immediate control of NMC Health and will work on behalf of all stakeholders. In February, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority launched an investigation into NMC's activities after the company's shares were suspended from trading on the London Stock Exchange.

#Bahrain’s Al-Salam Bank appoints new chairman

Al-Salam Bank-Bahrain has announced the appointment of Sheikh Khalid bin Mustahail Al-Mashani as the chairman of the board of directors. He is now replacing Khaleefa Butti bin Omair bin Yousif Al-Muhairi, who submitted his resignation as chairman and board member of the bank. Sheikh Khalid has more than 24 years of banking experience.

Is this stock halal? Islamic finance charts high-tech future

The Zoya mobile application screens US-listed stocks based on criteria issued by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions. US-based Wahed Invest also uses those criteria to help tens of thousands of people invest "ethically". Islamic bankers are hoping that modern platforms will open the industry up to young investors, and that its innately ethical credentials will prove to be another draw. According to Mohammed al-Sehli, CEO of Wethaq Capital, the emphasis has been on growing the market rather than making it more efficient. The sector must focus more on innovation after suffering from lack of innovation, standardisation and automation of processes.

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