Central Asia

Islamic Development Bank presents Kyrgyzstan 5 mobile clinics

The Islamic Development Bank has presented Kyrgyzstan 5 mobile clinics, the Department of Information Policy of the President reported. Last Wednesday, President Almazbek Atambayev and IDB President Akkhmad Mohamed Ali Al Madani discussed the implementation of new projects in Kyrgyzstan. The IDB Director said that he will send a special mission to explore new joint strategic projects in the near future. Moreover, an agreement on donating Kyrgyzstan five mobile clinics designed to improve access to health services in remote areas of the country was signed during the meeting. Equipment cost is estimated at $10 million.

AAOIFI membership for Kazakhstan bank

The National Bank of Kazakhstan, the central bank and financial services regulator, has taken up membership in Bahrain-based Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI). The signing ceremony to commemorate the membership was held on December 2 at WIBC 2014. The agreement was signed by National Bank of Kazakhstan deputy governor Nurlan Kussainov and AAOIFI secretary-general Dr Hamed Hassan Merah. Dr Merah said the membership would allow AAOIFI to work more closely with the National Bank of Kazakhstan and the finance industry in the country to support continuing development of Islamic finance.

Minister urges Islamic Solidarity Fund to help remove poverty

Minister of Economic and Finance Ali Tayebnia called for cooperation of the Islamic Solidarity Fund to remove poverty and unemployment in OIC member states. He made the remarks in the 30th session of the OIC Standing Committee on Economic and Commercial Cooperation General Assembly held in Istanbul, Turkey on November 27. Tayebnia said that OIC member states are facing structural labor market challenges such as low rate of women economic participation, high rate of unemployment among young adults, low rate of efficiency and ability to compete and in this concern an initiative job creation could be as a solution.

Sukuk yields $1bn in international bond market

Pakistan raised $1 billion from the international Islamic bond market on Wednesday by selling its Sukuk papers at 6.75 per cent profit rate. The government received a subscription of $2.3bn, which was nearly five times the targeted amount. With the proceeds, the country’s foreign exchange reserves are estimated to touch $14.1bn on Dec 1. And after the disbursement of $1.1bn by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expected in the second week next month, the country is set to cross the $15bn reserves barrier and will be eligible to benefit from the concessionary development lending window of the World Bank — International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Pakistan's Asia Insurance to enter takaful market

Lahore-based Asia Insurance Company Ltd will seek shareholder approval next week to offer takaful products.The company will seek approval to allocate 50 million rupees ($492,853) in capital to its takaful operation, the minimum capitalisation requirement. It will also seek to increase its authorised capital to 500 million rupees from 300 million currently. Asia Insurance joins a growing list of firms in offering sharia-compliant products including United Insurance Company and EFU insurance group. In May, Pakistani regulators introduced new takaful rules that allowed conventional firms to enter the sector. Regulators expect as many as half of all conventional insurers in Pakistan to eventually offer takaful products.

Moody's assigns (P)Caa1 to Pakistan's sovereign Sukuk

Moody's Investors Service has assigned a provisional (P) Caa1 senior unsecured rating to the proposed US dollar Trust Certificates to be issued by The Second Pakistan International Sukuk Company Limited, a special purpose vehicle established in Pakistan, by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Moody's Caa1 government bond rating and stable outlook on Pakistan reflects the country's large but moderating fiscal deficits as well as its stabilizing external liquidity position. It also factors in high susceptibility to event risk, both on the political front and in terms of economic vulnerabilities that could arise. The (P)Caa1 rating assigned to the trust certificates is at the same level as Pakistan's Caa1 issuer ratings.

SECP committed for developing Islamic financial sector

In order to develop a robust takaful sector, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has allowed M/s SPI Insurance Company Limited, formerly known as Saudi Pak Insurance Company Limited, to start window takaful operations. The initiative would help meet the risk mitigation needs of the masses and develop the Islamic financial sector, according to the SECP. Previously, two conventional insurance companies were allowed to transact takaful business through window operations. Currently, the SECP is processing one more application to start window takaful operations. The takaful sector in Pakistan has yet to go a long way in fulfilling the risk mitigation needs of the masses.

Islamic Development Bank to be established in CIS with Baku to become the regional Islamic financial center

Baku will become the regional Islamic financial center and has a potential to press internationally recognized centers. According to Behnam Gurbanzadeh, IBA (International Bank of Azerbaijan OJSC) Islamic Financing Department Manager, the idea to establish the CIS Islamic Development Bank proposed several years ago has become very attractive for the countries of the Commonwealth. In addition to Azerbaijan, Russia and Kazakhstan are very interested in establishing such a bank, Gurbanzadeh said. Today there are up to 700 million users of Islamic financial services in the world.

Islamic banking in Azerbaijan to be governed by new Banking Code

A package of amendments and additions to legislation in order to regulate the activities of Islamic banking in Azerbaijan will be introduced to the Central Bank of Azerbaijan in the first half of 2015.

Azerbaijan's largest bank starts Islamic financing in Russia

International Bank of Azerbaijan OJSC will provide services on Islamic financing in Russia, the director of the Department of Islamic Banking of the International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA) Behnam Gurbanzade said.

Pak-Qatar Family Takaful signs agreement with JS Bank

Pakistan's Pak Qatar Family Takaful Limited (PQFTL) has signed a BancaTakaful agreement with JS Bank Limited. This agreement marks the first direct arrangement between Pak-Qatar Family Takaful and any Bank for Banca Takaful. The signing ceremony was held at JS Bank’s head office in the presence of senior officials from both partners, including Muhammad Menhas, Deputy CEO and Country Sales Head, Kamran Rashid, Head of BancaTakaful and ADC and S Adnan Hasan, Head of Marketing and Corporate Communication from Pak-Qatar Family Takaful Ltd. JS Bank was represented at the session by Khalid Imran, President and CEO, Kamran Jafar, Group Head - Corporate and Retail Banking Group, and Babbar Wajid, Head of Product Development & Business Management.

$500m Sukuk bonds sale, $1.1b IMF loan to take foreign reserves to $15b: Dar

Pakistan's Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that foreign currency reserves will be increased up to $15 billion till December 31 this year through selling Sukuk bonds worth $500 million as IMF has also nodded to give $1.1 billion installment. Ishaq said the government would first hold roadshows and then float sukuk in the Middle East and Europe between November 21 and 24. He claimed to achieve $15 billion target till the end of this year. He said that the government would increase the size of Sukuk bond from $500 million to $1 billion after observing the investors' interest. Pakistan's foreign currency reserves stood at $13.443 billion on October 31, 2014, including $8.618 billion reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan and $4.825 billion reserves held by the commercial banks.

Al Hilal Bank welcomes Governor of Kazakhstan’s Central Bank to Abu Dhabi

Al Hilal Bank recently received Kairat Kelimbetov, the Governor of the National Bank of Kazakhstan at its headquarters in Abu Dhabi. Both parties discussed the key role of Al Hilal Bank as the first and only Islamic bank operating in Kazakhstan. Mohamed Jamil Berro, Al Hilal Bank’s Group CEO, personally welcomed Governor Kelimbetov and briefed the guest on the Islamic products offered by Al Hilal. Kelimbetov noted the role of Al Hilal Bank’s activities in the development of Islamic finance in Kazakhstan, and added that the National Bank of Kazakhstan will continue to support development of Islamic finance in Kazakhstan.

Chairman Shari’a Board of Dubai Islamic Bank visits Pakistan

Dr. Hussein Hamed Hassan, Chairman of Shari’a Board for Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), recently visited Pakistan to meet various Shari’a Scholars, Government Dignitaries, senior Islamic Bankers, State Bank of Pakistan officials, prominent Pakistani businessmen and Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan (DIBPL) management. Dr. Hussein during his visit held various crucial meetings on Islamic Banking and Shari’a compliance with major stakeholders in the country. He is considered as one of the founding fathers of Islamic finance due to his contribution to developing structures for the day to day running of Islamic banks and financial institutions.

The Importance of Corporate Governance in Family-Owned Companies

The adoption of good governance practices is beneficial to listed companies, unlisted companies, and family-owned enterprises. Good governance practices strengthen companies by building relationships among investors, boards of directors, managers, and employees. Implementing corporate governance guidelines allows businesses to obtain capital at lower cost, enhance business strategy, and attract the best human capital. Corporate governances also promotes competitiveness in the marketplace and is an antidote to corruption. CIPE partnered with the Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance (PICG) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan to assess sectoral needs and develop the Corporate Governance Guide for Family-Owned Enterprises.

Has Islamic banking finally cracked Pakistan?

After a false start, Islamic banking has become the fastest growing segment of the Pakistani banking industry, with the full support of the government. Apart from the ever-present challenge of liquidity management, most local Islamic bankers agree that their most important task now is to build awareness in the country.

Iranian banks give 83% more loans in current year

Iranian banks gave 1,463 trillion rials (some $45.7 billion based on the exchange rate of US dollar at the free market) worth of loans in the first half of the current Iranian calendar year. However, a great portion of the bank's loans are bad loans. Iran's Melli Bank, Parsian Bank and Tejarat Bank have the highest amount of bad loans in Iran. Of the total 870 trillion rials (about $28 billion) in bad loans, Melli Bank's share is 130 trillion rials (about $4.2 billion), Parsian and Tejarat banks' shares is 110 trillion rials each (about $3.5 billion).

“Investments into private sector is our primary goal”

Caspian International Investment Company CJSC (CIIC) is a private equity investment firm founded in March 2008. CIIC's shareholders are Azerbaijan Investment Company OJSC;Aref Investment Group; Al-Ahmar Group for Trading, Industrial and General Agencies; as well as The Islamic Corporation For The Development of The Private Sector and Islamic Development Bank. The main goal of CIIC is to serve as an investment vehicle in order to receive exposure to the growing Azerbaijani economy. Orkhan Aghalarov, the acting General Manager of CIIC, said that investments into the private sector is CIIC's primary goal, and thus, the company is one of the main supporters of realization of the President's economic policy.

Islamic banks - FIs asked to participate in Shariah-based refinancing scheme

The central bank has asked Islamic banks and non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs) to participate in its newly introduced Shariah-based refinancing scheme. The advice came at a meeting with the senior executives of the Islamic banks and NBFIs with Deputy Governor of the Bangladesh Bank Abul Quasem in the chair.
At the meeting, the central bank assured the Islamic banks and NBFIs that it would provide extra fund in the scheme if necessary. Five Islamic banks have already deposited Tk 3.75 billion with the BB's newly opened account for introducing the refinancing scheme exclusively for Sharia-based banks and NBFIs.

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