The Jakarta Post

Indonesia likely to defeat Turkey to host IDB's HQ

Indonesia is likely to defeat Turkey to host the Islamic Development Bank’s (IDB) headquarters, a spokesman of the bank has said. Indonesia's strategic position and role during the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit were two driving factors behind the decision. IDB Indonesia country director Ibrahim Shoukry said the bank had committed to investing US$1.2 billion on projects in Indonesia over five years. Indonesia, he further said, had some advantages over Turkey due to its prospective market in Asia, which is healthier than Turkey's main market, Europe. Indonesia’s market will be broader due to the ASEAN Economic Community.

Sharia lenders must strive for service excellence: OJK

The Financial Services Authority (OJK) is encouraging sharia-compliant lenders to improve their standard of service to increase their competitiveness alongside conventional banks that have greater experience. Citing a 2008 Bank Indonesia (BI) survey, OJK sharia banking head Ahmad Buchori said customers were mostly concerned about the benefits offered by the lenders when choosing who to bank with. The 2008 survey also shows that sharia lenders’ use of verses from the Koran to market their products is not effective despite the fact that more than 80 percent of Indonesians are Muslim, he added.

Banks pledge to support green finance

The nation’s eight largest banks, representing 46 % of national banking assets, have committed to implementing sustainable financing as part of global environment goals.

Bank Mandiri, Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI), Bank Central Asia (BCA), Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI), Bank Muamalat, BRI Syariah, Bank Jabar Banten (BJB) and Bank Artha Graha Internasional signed the commitment with the Financial Services Authority (OJK) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia on Monday. The commitment was manifested in a pilot project called “first step to becoming a sustainable bank”, marking a big move taken by the banks less than a year after the OJK launched the 2014-2019 Sustainable Financial Roadmap, according to OJK head Muliaman D. Hadad.

“I hope these eight banks, which are the prime movers in this project, can encourage other banks and financial institutions to join the country’s implementation of sustainable finance,” Muliaman said in his speech. Through the green banking pilot project, Muliaman said participating banks were expected to balance their pursuit of profits with willingness to conserve the environment, serving as examples to their peers.

Bank Indonesia says Islamic banking can help SMEs compete

Bank Indonesia (BI) has acknowledged a new challenge for the national economy – the rise of global small and medium enterprises (SME) and their increased penetration of the local domestic market. According to BI, in order to compete, local SMEs need to be strengthened through massive financing, including through Islamic banking. The challenge is getting more serious as the economy opens up with developments like the Asean Economic Community (AEC) agreement, which will come into effect soon, leading to massive corporate foreign investments that will bring foreign SMEs to Indonesia, BI deputy governor Perry Warjiyo said.

Demand for sharia insurance products on the rise: Allianz

A recent survey carried out by private life insurer Allianz Life Indonesia in Jakarta, Bandung in West Java, Padang in West Sumatra and Samarinda in East Kalimantan showed a high demand for halal insurance products. As many as 97 percent of around 300 respondents agreed that halal investments were important. Furthermore, 93 percent of the respondents felt comfortable with sharia products because they provided transparent investments and profit-sharing schemes in addition to the management, which is according to Islamic principles. 87 percent of respondents had no problem to buy sharia products and 88 percent said it was important to apply religious values, including in financial management.

Haram edict on health insurance ‘misguided’

The latest fatwa from the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) declaring the national health insurance (JKN) program to be in violation of sharia law is deemed to be misguided, with officials saying that the public should not worry about the program being haram. The MUI issued the edict during an open meeting in Central Java recently, saying that the way the program was run by the Healthcare and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan) involved elements that were not consistent with sharia law, such as maisir (gambling) and riba (interest). House of Representatives Commission IX overseeing health said that it was up to the government to follow up on the demand by drafting a new regulation.

RI set to join sharia infrastructure bank

Indonesia will become a founding member of a cross-border sharia-compliant infrastructure bank to help boost infrastructure development in various countries. The bank, named Islamic Investment Infrastructure Bank, will be cofounded with Turkey and the Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB), according to Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro. To qualify as a founding member, Indonesia must contribute more than US$300 million. The sharia infrastructure bank is expected to be established in the second half of this year, following Indonesia’s announcement to join as one of the founding members in the upcoming China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which is also expected to help finance the country’s infrastructure projects.

Sharia banks to benefit from trillions in 'zakat'

Indonesia's sharia banks expect to raise a large amount of inexpensive funds from Islamic charity foundations following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Bank Indonesia, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and several alms and zakat collecting bodies.Under the agreement signed in Jakarta on Monday, the central bank and the MUI's National Sharia Council (DSN) agreed to work together to encourage the Islamic charity foundations to keep their funds in the country's sharia banks.

Government upsizes sukuk sales as bids hit record high

The first sukuk auction this year, held on Tuesday, attracted incoming bids of Rp 13.7 trillion (US$1.1 billion), representing a more than sixfold oversubscription, with the government having set an issuance target of Rp 2 trillion. In comparison, incoming bids in the previous sukuk auction on Oct. 21 barely reached Rp 3.5 trillion. In response to the high demand, the Finance Ministry then decided to upsize the issuance, selling Rp 6.8 trillion of sukuk bonds. Nevertheless, the government will first assess upcoming auction results before deciding to raise more financing from sukuk this year. The high demand could be a seasonal phenomenon due to the market’s long closure for the year-end holiday.

RI lags behind in Islamic economy

Indonesia has much work to do in improving infrastructure and regulations to support an Islamic-compliant economy. Thomson Reuters’ Islamic Finance Development Report 2014 showed Malaysia topped the list, scoring 93 (on a scale of 100), far higher than Indonesia which ranked 12 with a score of 28. However, the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in Dubai, revealed growing interest from many governments. South Korea was one of the many non-Muslim countries that looked eager to develop the Islamic economic industry. Besides, the halal industry won great attention over the past decade as the volume of the industry reached more than US$2.1 trillion. Moreover, there's growing demand for Muslim-friendly tourism.

Developing Islamic finance through research

In response to the slow growth of Islamic banking and finance, OJK organized the seventh Islamic Finance Research Forum. It was held from Oct. 14 to 16 at the IPB campus, and brought together students, scholars and practitioners of Islamic finance industry to exchange new ideas to help propel the sector’s performance. Among the causes of Islamic finance’s slow growth are the lack of capitalization driven by a paucity of high-quality human capital and a shortage of innovation and creativity. The OJK disclosed that the root problems can be solved by, inter alia, sound research and development activities, which are still lacking in the Islamic finance industry.

Dubai bank to up stake in Panin Syariah

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has officially submitted a request to Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority (OJK) to up its stake in Jakarta-listed Bank Panin Syariah (PNBS). It has expressed its intention to increase its ownership in Panin Syariah to 40 percent. DIB currently owns a 24.9 percent stake in Panin Syariah, a subsidiary of private lender Panin Bank (PNBN). The United Arab Emirates lender acquired Panin Syariah’s shares, reportedly worth Rp 251.79 billion (US$21.7 million), in two stages in May this year. The rest of Panin Syariah’s shares are controlled by Panin Bank with 52.5 percent, Hesti Femi Nugraheni with 5.4 percent and the public with 17.2 percent. The OJK expects to complete the talks and issue approval for DIB later this year.

Ramadhan a boon for sharia business

Indonesia’s sharia banking sector has recorded slow growth as it nears the end of this year’s second quarter, compared to the same period last year, according to a recent report from the Financial Services Authority (OJK). In order to lure more customers, banks have developed their own strategies. Bank BNI Syariah, for instance, has prepared special programs for Ramadan to anticipate the rise in spending that usually accompanies the fasting month. Meanwhile, the OJK disclosed its plan to issue a revised regulation on sharia banks’ minimum capital requirement to assist lenders in the face of a wider scope of risks. The revised regulation will contain two additional indicators to measure the capital sufficiency of each bank.

Sharia hampers investment

Licensing and the implementation of sharia often cause investors to reconsider investing in Aceh. The Aceh provincial administration, through the Aceh Promotion and Investment Board (BIPA), has made strenuous efforts to convince investors to invest capital. BIPA has coordinated with various stakeholders, including city administrations and district level administrations, to help spur economic growth in Aceh. It also initiated a joint commitment to improve the image of Aceh and inputting data on impediments and issues faced by the business world to seek immediate solutions. However, uncertain regulations and licensing as well as an unfriendly attitude towards foreign investors are issues yet to be solved.

Consolidation of sharia banks also needed

Amid talk of merging banks in the country to boost size and competitiveness in the region, the Financial Services Authority (OJK) has said that consolidation of sharia banks is also needed. At the moment, however, many sharia lenders are units that operate within conventional banks. OJK expects the consolidation to take place after all existing sharia business units (UUS) had been spun off from their parent banks. At the moment, there are 11 sharia lenders and 23 UUS operating in the country. After the spin-off, there would be more than 34, but the OJK would like to fix the number at between 25 and 30. One sharia business unit of a commercial bank is reportedly ready to be spun off in 2014.

Bank Muamalat saw 51% profit

PT Bank Muamalat Indonesia posted Rp372.20 billion (US36.1 million) in net profits for the first half of 2013, a 51.27 percent increase from the same period of last year. Bank Muamalat’s net earnings as of June 2013 reached Rp 1.25 trillion, compared to Rp 868.33 billion in June 2012. Margins for murabaha totaled Rp 925.23 billion, or an increase of 47.22 percent from the 2012 figure. Muamalats earnings from musharakah, or partnerships, reached Rp 746.65 billion, higher than the Rp 461.64 billion in June 2012. As of the first semester of 2013, Bank Muamalat managed Rp 47.92 trillion in assets, or up 46.59 percent from the same period in 2012. Meanwhile, PT Bank Ekonomi Raharja (BAEK) on the other hand reported a fall in net profits to Rp 105.33 billion, down 23.34 percent from last year’s Rp 137.4 billion. Bank Ekonomi Raharja recorded Rp 26.59 trillion in assets as of June 30 2013.

Analysis: 2013: A slew of new banking policies

Just in time for the beginning of 2013, Bank Indonesia (BI) introduced several new regulations serving to improve banks’ competitive and operating efficiencies, maintain stability via capital enhancement and ensure long-term sustainable growth among other things. Some of the rulings are higher CAR for higher-risk profiled banks, limitation in banking activities based on banks’ tier I capital, and productive loans with minimum MSME to limit credit risk.

Govt to use sukuk for infrastructure projects

The government of Indonesia plans the issuance of rupiah-denominated sukuk next year which shall be used for financing state projects. Analysts welcome this move considering it a breakthrough in the development of the country’s undersized Islamic finance sector. According to the 2013 state budget financial note, up to Rp 1 trillion (US$103.5 million) will be borrowed by the Finance Ministry using sukuk issuance to finance state projects next year. Islamic bonds should be perceived as an alternative source of financing for the government’s infrastructure projects.

Islamic finance works in fostering sustainable economic growth: Zeti

Malaysian's central bank governor has claimd that Islamic finance will contribute to the global agenda of developing sustainable growth. Providing financial services that add value to the real economy is the focal point of Islamic finance and tenets.

Sharia banking sees extraordinary development

Sharia banking soars in several countries including Indonesia with 191 operating sharia banks. Between 2007 and 2011, the sharia banking sector has achieved an average growth-rate of 40.2 percent per annum. Even thought the potential of sharia banking is big, the conventional banking system still plays an important role in banking system which cannot be overseen.

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