Business Mirror

Institutionalizing Islamic banking practices

The Philippines's new Republic Act (RA) 11439 or the "Act Providing for the Regulation and Organization of Islamic Banks" allows the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to follow its regulatory mandate for supervision over the operations of Islamic banks, and to issue the implementing rules and regulations on Islamic banking. Currently, the country has only one Islamic bank, Al Amanah Islamic Investment Bank of the Philippines. According to BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno, the BSP looks forward to seeing greater participation in Islamic financing by both domestic and foreign banks. This is expected to widen opportunities for Muslim Filipinos in accessing banking products and services.

Issuance of P50-billion Marawi #bond proposed

The #Philippines House of Representatives has approved the government’s plan of tapping the bond market to finance the reconstruction of Marawi City. Ben P. Evardone said the Bureau of Treasury should pursue the issuance of a P50-billion 'Marawi Bond' considering the low interest rates prevailing in the market. By tapping the bond market to finance Marawi’s reconstruction, the lawmaker said this will free up a huge part of the regular budget for government’s other programs. According to Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, the government would allocate P15 billion to Marawi City in the next two years. He also added the tax settlement paid by Mighty Corp. and Philippine Airlines would be used to finance the rehabilitation of the war-torn city.

Brunei bank seeks $1.6-billion sukuk mandates

Brunei Darussalam’s only Islamic bank hopes oil industry investment will help stoke a sukuk market now dominated by government issuance of short-term Shariah-compliant bills. Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam is seeking to arrange as much as B$2 billion ($1.6 billion) of corporate debt in the next 12 months as companies seek to fund projects aimed at boosting crude oil output. Islamic banking assets total about $6.8 billion in the Southeast Asian sultanate, which funds investment largely with its oil wealth. Bank Islam currently supplies Shariah-compliant loans and a global corporate sukuk it was underwriting two years ago never came to fruition.While Brunei’s corporate sukuk has been in a lull, the formation of a central bank is a positive development for the market.

I.C. considering ‘takaful’ system for Muslims

The Insurance Commission (IC) is looking at the feasibility of establishing an Islamic insurance system, particularly the possibility of offering takaful insurance in the country to help Filipino Muslims. Taking notice of the disasters and destructions that happened in the southern part of the country, Insurance Commissioner Emmanuel Dooc said the IC is looking for ways to help the Muslims in Mindanao. Plans include the setup of an investment advisory council for preneed life and non-life that will look into viable investment activities, and the mandatory earthquake insurance for residential units and small and medium enterprises. However, the IC sees the need for Islamic finance regulations to be able to offer takaful products.

BSP to strengthen Islamic banking

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is planning to open up the its rediscounting window to sharia lending entities, essentially a mechanism that allows lenders to exchange their loan receivables for cash but at a discount, effectively giving them cash that they then use to turn around and give even more loans. The sharia rediscounting window forms part of a larger effort to achieve an inclusive financial system that delivers financial services not only to the unbanked but also to the Muslim community. Moreover, the BSP is preparing to draft new rules for the BSP to extend its financial services to Islamic banks that are in accordance with the provisions of Islamic banking. The draft bill has already been submitted to the Senate and the House of Representatives.

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