GCC financial regulators encouraged to promote use of sukuk to fund infrastructure

The value of sukuk being issued in the GCC has been falling, but there is still opportunity in the market, Zamir Iqbal, lead financial sector specialist at the World Bank said. The potential lies in the huge infrastructure financing, but a proper legal and tax environment for the structuring of the sukuk and the SPV laws must be established. There’s already excess liquidity in the market, and banks are looking for high-quality, highly-rated sukuk, Iqbal noted. The International Monetary Fund said in November that the GCC region was suffering from a lack of availability of Sharia'a compliant financial instruments, or tradable assets, leading to excess liquidity and to an uneven playing field for Islamic banks.