Egypt: Finance Ministry - Sukuk Issuance Will Be in 4th Quarter of Current Fiscal Year

The Egyptian Finance Ministry will start its Sukuk issuance project in the last quarter of the current fiscal year. The project for financing economic and social projects will help to curb budget deficit. For Sukuk issuance, a central Sharia panel of seven members will be formed. The premier will be responsible for the appointment of the panel members.

A reform package for the Islamic banking and finance sector proposed for the new year

Without contradicting the values and practices of Islamic banking, a new regulation is awaited for the Islamic banks. The goal of the legislative reform is to make tools for growth available. This regulation would force non-Islamist banks to comply to the same laws and standards of Islamist banks.

EFG-Hermes Says QInvest Takeover Delayed by Regulators

EFG-Hermes Holding SAE (HRHO) said its sale to Qatar’s QInvest LLC has been delayed because of regulatory approvals. This is because the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority hasn’t yet approved the transfer of EFG-Hermes’ Egyptian assets to the new, Qatari-based entity. QInvest will invest $250 million in the venture, with the option to buy total ownership.

Egypt treads fine legal line with sukuk bill

The Egyptian cabinet last week approved a draft law that would allow the government to issue Islamic bonds. The bill divides government assets into “publicly owned by the state" and "privately owned by the state". Only the first type of asset is allowed for sukuk. However, the bill does not describe the two types, a fact that is already causing controversy. The bill is still to be reviewed by the upper house of parliament and religious scholars at the Al-Azhar university.

Draft Sukuk Regulation in Egypt - original text

Website of the Egyptian Regulator presenting the draft regulation for Sukuk:

"As EFSA is keer on engaging all the market’s parties and professional associations participate in the process of making rules related to new financial tools in different non –banking activities and markets ,

And following the principle of "consultation to reach the best results " this page shall include the draft laws and regulatory decisions , and EFSA receive all the participants comments through a form that has been prepared by EFSA for this matter"


Egypt turns off streetlights to cope with power shortage

15 Egyptian power stations have ceased to produce electricity due to fuel shortages. That is why Egypt is turning off half its streetlights in order to save 700 MW. This move is a follow-up to a previous initiative, by requirement of the government, shops and restaurants closed earlier. Even though the closing time rules did not enjoy popularity among most of the public, they went into effect in December 2012.

Egypt to Make Changes to Economic Reform Plan for IMF's Loan

According to Minister of Finance Al-Morsy Hegazi, Egypt is now looking for a way to change the economic reform plan in order to obtain thr IMF $ 4.8 billion loan. He further added at a meeting with the Bank Group Chairman Ahmed Mohammed Ali that a few domains of cooperation between both sides will eventually be able to ease the burden off the country's budget. Several Egyptian projects will be financed by the Bank under different systems.

Amin: “IMF may have required Islamic Sukuk”

Galal Amin - author of Whatever Happened to Egyptians and prominent economist - expressed his doubtful attitude towards the new sukuk introduced by the government of Egypt. At a media roundtable held at the American university in Cairo (AUC) on Wednesday, Amin as well as some other experts in economy diagnosed the Egyptian economy and cast their predictions for the current year. It was said that due to political causes of the economic crisis it is difficult to make predictions. Especially the lack of security, a lack of trust and above all the nature and content of political discourse bringing Egypt far beck were mentioned as key factors.

Egypt approves sukuk law

According to the finance minister of Egypt, the cabinet has given its approval of a draft law to allow sovereign sukuk. Thus, the government is looking for new ways to finance an unsustainable budget deficit. It is expected that there will be strong demand for Islamic bonds. The Islamic Development Bank recently announced that it could be ready to buy around $6bn of them.

Arab Spring Needs a Mini-Marshall Plan

The euphoria of the Arab Spring has turned to disappointed expectations because building Arab democracies with open economies has proved to be much harder than expected. Countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Libya are stuck in a situation of instability which hampers economic recovery. Meanwhile, lack of growth and jobs nurtures instability. If the vicious circle is not broken, it is highly probable that radical Islamists will become more active. Thus, modernity would be rejected and a relapse to the corrupt crony-state systems would threaten to become reality. That is why an altered mini-version of the Marshall Plan could play the role of the necessary bigger and more focused effort.

Egypt won’t use canal, state assets to back sukuk – PM

According to a statement by Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, Egypt will not use the Suez Canal or other state assets to back sukuk issues. The use of public assets such as the Suez Canal and public facilities for the issuance of instruments is excluded by the bill, which has been intensively discussed recently. Since Islam forbids interest payments, bonds must be backed by specific assets and pay investors with revenue from those assets. However, the Islamic Research Academy insists that the bill could allow authorities to abuse their control of public assets.

Islamic Development Bank Provides $265m To Egypt State-Owned Oil Firm

The Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) received $265 million of funds from the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (IITFC). Since October 2012, the money provided to the EGPC from the IITFC has almost reached the $500 million mark. The funds are intended to help the state to secure a larger number of basic goods and other necessities for its citizens. The initiative includes petroleum products, wheat and other foodstuffs.

SC rejects Islamic Sukuk bill as violating Sharia

The decision of the Islamic Research Academy of al-Azhar to reject the Ministry of Finance's bill on Islamic bonds was supported by the Shura Council (SC) Economic Committee. A member of the SC explains that the reason therefore is the lack of legitimate aspects. Meanwhile, al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayyeb recently referred a new draft law on Islamic Sukuk so that al-Azhar's Senior Scholars Council can express their opinion on it.

Sukuk draft law released

The final draft of Egypt's sukuk law has been submitted to the finance ministry. It will now be xamined by parliament according to the head of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) Ashraf ElSharkawy. According to ElSharkawy, the goal of the government was social dialogue with political parties and economic associations rather than the EFSA. He further made clear that the sovereign sukuk law released by the government is designed to organise the financing of the government, state budget, national projects and public institutions.

Egypt: Shura Council Rejects Islamic Sukuk Bill for Violating Islamic Law

The economic committee of the Shura Council (SC) showed its support to the Islamic Research Academy of al-Azhar's decision to reject the bill of the ministry of finance on Islamic sukuk. It is said that the bill lacked legitimate aspects. Meanwhile, a new draft law over Islamic bonds has been made public by al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayyeb.

Kingdom MENA's most attractive PE destination

According to experts from Ernst & Young, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are poised to become the most attractive private equity (PE) destinations in the MENA region. Saudi Arabia is the first in the ranking of the most attractive PE investment destinations in 2011. The reasons for that were the initiatives of the Kingdom's government and its relaxed foreign ownership norms. There are some basic factors such as demographics, the robustness of its financial institutions, a very healthy economic outlook and steady growth which play a key role in positioning Saudi Arabia as a leading PE destination.

Sukuk sales may break $46b record on debuts

This year's record of $46 billion in terms of global sukuk sales is very likely to be exceeded in the coming year. A key reason is that countries like Oman, Tunisia and Egypt are just entering the market. Borrowing costs on Sharia-compliant debt have decreased 11.4 percentage points reaching 2.82% since the end of 2008 due to central banks in Europe, the US and Japan pumping funds into their economies in order to enhance growth rates. A rise in the Islamic banking assets will drive the demand so that it can reach $1.8 trillion next year. Compared to that, in 2011 the demand was $1.3 trillion.

Sukuk law is drafted

The draft of the sukuk law aiming to regulate the trading of bonds in a manner compliant with Islamic law was finished by the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA). In a statement, EFSA explained that the draft was created following a detailed study of international experiences in such regulations. Topics included in the draft are activities which can be financed by sukuk and the various kinds of financing instruments available. Before issuance, the bill stipulates the approval of a committee of three Islamic finance scholars on any sukuk offering.

EFSA finalises new sukuk law

The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority's (EFSA) draft law regulating Shari’a compliant debt tools has been brought to a final version. The proposition consists of 30 articles which establish a legal framework for the issuance and transaction of sukuk. The purpose of the law is to expand the scope of activities that sukuk can finance. Moreover, it shall allow the issuance of business sukuk.

Morocco joins neighbours to draft sukuk law

Following the example of other North African countries, Morocco is working on the draft of a law aiming to allow the sale of Islamic bonds. Thus, the country makes efforts to lure more investors to their debt after the surge of global sukuk offerings reached record amounts. The bill will be put to parliament immediately after the completion of the draft. Details on the exact time when this is to be expected are not revealed. Other two African countries - Tunisia and Egypt - are working on draft laws concerning sukuk sales as well.

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