Central Asia

#Sukuk issuance to lure foreign investment

The re-entry of #Pakistan into the international Islamic bond market after a gap of two years with the issuance of one billion dollars Sukuk will help the country bolster its external account position. According to analyst Saad Hashemy at Topline Securities, Pakistan's ability to raise funds from the global financial markets at the historic low rates shows investors' optimism about the economic prospects. The government raised $1.0 billion through the issuance of five-year dollar-denominated Sukuk at the historic low rate of 5.5%. The investors across the world showed interest in parking around $2.4 billion in the bonds. Pakistan’s credit rating has remained stable or improved during the last few years. International credit rating agencies Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s (S&P) rated Pakistan as B3 (stable), B (stable) and B (positive), respectively in their last ratings.

SBP aims to achieve 50pc financial inclusion by 2020: deputy governor

The State Bank of #Pakistan (SBP) is pursuing a three-pronged strategy to achieve the goal of 50% financial inclusion by the year 2020. According to Saeed Ahmed, deputy governor of the central bank, twenty million households need microfinance in Pakistan. The forum, organised by Shamrock Conferences International was held to strive for the expansion of financial services. Dr Mohammad Amjad Saqib, chairman of Akhuwat Foundation, delivered the keynote address and stressed the importance of microfinance. Speakers agreed that the microfinance specialists must create a sustainable model by offering competitive microfinance products, reducing costs and expanding their outreach.

Moody's assigns (P)B3 to #Pakistan's sovereign #sukuk

Moody's Investors Service has today assigned a provisional (P)B3 rating to the proposed US dollar Trust Certificates to be issued by The Third Pakistan International Sukuk Company. The (P)B3 rating reflects Moody's view that the sukuk certificate holders will effectively be exposed to the sovereign credit risk incorporated in the government's issuer rating. Payment obligations represented by the securities are ranked pari passu with other senior, unsecured debt issuances of the Government of Pakistan. The rating for the Government of Pakistan captures moderate economic strength, structurally large fiscal imbalances, a high government debt burden and high susceptibility to political event risks.

ECC waives 10 types of taxes on Islamic bonds

The #Pakistani government waived 10 taxes on the upcoming international Sukuk bond issue, which is expected to raise at least $750 million. The government is going to tap the international debt market next month to borrow $750 million to $1 billion by pledging the Islamabad-Lahore Motorway. Headed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet granted tax exemptions on the Islamic bonds. This decision violated the Supreme Court judgment that barred the ECC from taking decision on fiscal matters without prior approval of the federal cabinet. The ECC also approved to reduce prices of imported urea fertiliser from Rs1,310 per bag to Rs1,200 per bag, giving Rs30.4 million subsidy.

Govt to raise up to $1bn through #sukuk issue in #US

In #Pakistan the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet finalised plans for immediate launch of $500 million to $1 billion sukuk in the US capital market. Presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the ECC decided to start process for the launch of sukuk in Washington on Tuesday and wind up the transaction by Oct 5, 2016. The government has already hired a consortium of five banks – Citibank, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, Dubai Islamic and Noor Islamic – as financial advisers to complete the sukuk transaction. Being Islamic mode, the bond is being raised against Lahore-Islamabad Motorway as collateral that should keep pricing slightly lower than conventional bonds. The government would decide about the exact size of the bond on the basis of investor response and pricing but would remain within $500m-$1bn band.

State Bank’s Vice President gunned down in Karachi

Senior Vice President of State bank of Pakistan (SBP) was gunned down in the area of Gulistan –e- Johar, within the jurisdiction of Shariah Faisal police. Superintendent Police (SP) Gulshan Doctor Fahad Ahmad said that Muhammad Sadiq Siddiqui was going to a bakery when two alleged dacoits attempted to snatch his vehicle. On resistance, dacoits opened fire on him. As a result, he sustained serious injuries and died, while dacoits managed to escape from the scene with car.

Islamic Banking Will Strengthen Democracy In #India

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is getting the final touch in before setting up office in India. With introduction of Islamic banking, Indian government will certainly gain diplomatic upper hand to make financial dealings with Muslim dominated nations. Islamic Banking will clearly ameliorate the deplorable condition of the poor and marginalized segments of society. However, it won't be very surprising to see if this banking system is turned into a political issue. Certain parties might abhor the use of the word "Islamic" and could term it as anti-Indian. They might argue that the very concept of Sharia banking would go against the secular fabric of the country.

This BJP Minister is responsible for Sharia-compliant Islamic banking in #India

India's first Islamic banking service began on Friday in Maharashtra’s Solapur district. Subhash Deshmukh, a BJP MLA from Solapur and state cooperation minister has launched Sharia-compliant Islamic banking. The BJP leader said that the bank has 9 branches, including 8 in Solapur and 1 in Pune, and all of them would get a separate counter for Islamic interest-free deposits and loans. Deshmukh added that other financial institutions and banks in Maharashtra should also follow and adopt this model. Interest-free deposits will be accepted from Muslims and non-Muslims at zero rates of interest to ensure their financial inclusion.

Islamic banking is here, thanks to BJP minister Subhash Deshmukh

In #India Maharashtra state minister Subhash Deshmukh has launched Sharia-compliant Islamic banking. Interest-free deposits will be accepted from both Muslims and non-Muslims and distributed to the needy at zero rates of interest to ensure their financial inclusion. So far, the Lokmangal Cooperative Bank has distributed Rs 2.50 lakh to poor Muslims and the minister will now call on other banks to follow suit and adopt this model. Deshmukh said that depositors, however, will not be able to withdraw their deposits prematurely as the money will be lent out.

FPCCI lauds FM’s efforts for promoting Islamic Banking

The Sr. Vice President FPCCI has lauded the decision of Finance Minister for formulating a Committee for the implementation of recommendations of the Steering Committee for the promotion of Islamic Banking. The expansion and promotion of Islamic banking is the need of the hour because it is risk-sharing and asset-backed nature and was growing and unaffected in the period of global financial crisis.

Sr. Vice President FPCCI Shaikh Khalid Tawab, elaborated that Islamic Banking has become an emerging field in global financial market and the time has proved that it has tremendous potential and is growing at a very fast pace all around the world. He added that Pakistan, with more than 95 % Muslim population, and a constitutional obligation of ensuring a riba free economic system, has huge potential of expanding Islamic banking. This is, if the deposits are used on the basis of detailed analysis to get rate of return more than the conventional banks because at present the return on the Islamic banks instruments is lesser than the conventional banks.

Govt gears efforts to test international appetite for Shariah-compliant papers

The Pakistani government plans to tap international investors’ appetite by offering sukuk worth as much as $750 million for sale. The finance ministry said the structure of the sukuk will be flexible and the issue will have a maturity of at least five years. According to former finance minister Salman Shah the completion of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) programme and reclassification of Pakistan Stock Exchange to MSCI emerging market index would send a positive signal to the investors. Analysts said improved macroeconomic indicators and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor related activities are attracting positive credit ratings.

Musharika, Modaraba and Wakalah: three modes of Islamic financing given exemption from Kibor

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) announced exemption from KIBOR as benchmark rate for Participatory (Musharika & Modaraba) and Wakalah-based products. For this exemption Islamic Banking Institutions (IBIs) will be required to ensure some conditions. IBIs will take adequate measures to mitigate equity investment risk in participatory mode based products. In addition, for Modaraba and Musharika based products, IBIs will ensure compliance with minimum Shariah requirements and AAOIFI Shariah Standard No 12 and No 13 as adopted by the SBP. For Wakalah-based products, IBIs will be required to use Arabic version of AAOIFI Shariah Standard No 23 on Agency as guideline in consultation with their Shariah Board.

SECP drafting Shariah regulatory framework: Hijazi

The Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) is in the process of drafting a Shariah regulatory framework. Addressing at the second day of "World Islamic Finance Forum" (WIFF), SECP Chairman Zafar Hijazi said SECP has established a full-fledged Islamic finance department to co-ordinate the Islamic finance initiative. He said SECP is fully supporting Shariah compliant business and the government has implemented the SECP's tax proposal for offering Sukuk. SECP is currently working on harmonisation and standardisation of regulations for a uniform regulatory environment. The commission has an independent Shariah Advisory Board to review product development and adjudicate on Shariah matters.

Dar suggests investment in research to Islamise economy

Speaking at the World Islamic Finance Forum, Pakistan's Finance Minister Ishaq Dar suggested investing in research in order to Islamise the whole economic system of the country. He said Islamic finance industry leaders should play an active role in promoting the industry. At the same time, the leaders should not remain complacent with the traditional model, but should help the finance industry evolve and innovate products based on Shariah compliance. Dar said economic growth in Pakistan had crossed 4% and had remained steady at 5% this year. This growth rate is expected to accelerate to 7% in fiscal year 2017-18. Later referring to a BBC report, he said Pakistan would become the 18th largest economy of the world by 2050 from the current 44th position.

IRTI, Thomson Reuters and IBA launch new study on the outlook of Islamic finance in #Pakistan

The Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), Thomson Reuters and the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) launched the Pakistan Islamic Finance Report titled "Innovation at Asia’s Crossroads". The ceremony, which took place in Karachi, was attended by senior government officials, market executives and industry professionals. The report highlights that the Islamic capital market sector registered a double-digit growth rate in the past decade, recorded mostly by Islamic mutual funds. In all Islamic finance industry segments, finance professionals and investors maintain a positive economic outlook, and Islamic finance institutions have built strong fundamentals.

Explainer: Deconstructing Islamic Finance & what it means for us

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said it will work with the government to introduce interest-free banking, as part of its efforts to improve financial inclusion. The RBI’s proposal paves the way for introduction of Islamic finance in India. In March 2015, State Bank of India (SBI) deferred the launch of a Shariah-compliant equity mutual fund at the last moment. SBI maintained that the decision was a commercial call, but there was speculation that the decision had to do with political pressure. Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy is among the most vocal critics of Islamic finance, arguing that it could encourage religious conversion and also open channels for terrorist organisations to channel money into India.

Merger of Al Baraka Bank #Pakistan with Burj Bank Under the Name Al Baraka Pakistan with Total Assets in Excess of US$ 1.1 billion

Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) Ltd (ABPL) and Burj Bank Ltd (BBL) will soon merge into a single Islamic Bank in Pakistan under the name Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) Ltd. Al Baraka Islamic Bank-Bahrain will remain major shareholder subsequent to this merger. All 74 BBL branches will be converted into ABPL branches and the combined network of the merged entity will become 224 branches in over 100 cities across Pakistan. The total asset base of ABPL will cross US$ 1.1 billion. Adnan Ahmed Yousif, Chairman of ABPL said the amalgamated entity would be in a position to offer varied financial products and services.

Islamic banking has capacity of 40m people to explore in #Pakistan

State Bank of Pakistan Deputy Governor Saeed Ahmed said that there is a dire need to create awareness to promote Islamic banking. According to the Global Islamic Finance Report (GIFR) 2016, Pakistan ranks ninth in terms of development of Islamic financial services industry. However, there is still a capacity of 40 million more people in the banking market that the Islamic finance sector can explore. In June the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) noted that the Islamic banking industry had witnessed a growth of 7.4% in April to June quarter. Its assets reached Rs 1,745 billion while its deposits also increased by 9.3%. This shows a market capitalisation of 13.2%. There is still room to grow and the Islamic financing institutions can increase their operations and market shares.

As Raghuram Rajan departs, RBI opens door to Islamic finance

India's central bank has proposed working with the government to introduce interest-free banking. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) made the proposal last week, as departing central bank governor Raghuram Rajan hands over the reins to Urjit Patel. Development of Islamic finance has been slow in India because of strong opposition from bureaucrats and politicians from the ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. An estimated 180 million Muslims have been unable to access Islamic banking because of laws that require banking to be based on interest. The RBI said it would explore introducing interest-free banking products in consultation with the government, a key detail as this opens the prospects of supportive legislation.

Islamic Funds Industry shows impressive growth market

In #Pakistan Al-Ameen Funds hosted an awareness session on Shariah Compliant Investment. The meeting was organised by Al-Ameen Funds and UBL Fund Managers in collaboration with Pakistan Stock Exchange Limited (PSX). Speakers agreed that the Islamic Funds Industry has shown impressive growth in recent years. Yasir Qadri, CEO of UBL Funds said that the local investors are more aware about the equity market than ever before. However, Islamic funds offer opportunities of investment for a vast audience which is yet to be tapped. Shahid Gul Motiwala, CEO Al-Ameen Islamic Financial Services said that there is a lot of awareness required in Pakistan regarding the benefits of making sound investment choices.

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