Govt implements SECP’s tax proposal offering Sukuk level playing field

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SECP takes revolutionary steps for promoting Islamic Finance

Amanullah Khan

Karachi—The government has implemented SECP’s tax proposal for offering Sukuk a level playing field with bonds through an Ordinance dated 31st August, 2016. This is a great step forward for promotion of Islamic finance. This was stated by Zafar Hijazi, Chairman SECP (Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan) while addressing world Islamic Finance Forum held in Karachi. It may be mentioned that the Finance Minister had accepted SECP’s proposal for offering a 2 per cent tax rebate as an incentive for companies meeting Shariah compliance criteria. Companies are being given both a financing option and a tax incentive to become Shariah complaint and now it is for companies to make the most of this opportunity.
I SECP Chairman expressed the hope that such measures will promote Islamic finance in Pakistan and in return, Allah will bestow His blessings on our economy. The Chairman, SECP noticed that the regulation of the Islamic finance companies under the mandate of SECP was very fragmented and required direction. For this purpose we established a dedicated and full-fledged Islamic Finance Department in SECP to coordinate and spearhead the Islamic finance initiative. This Department reports directly to the Chairman by doing this we are fully cognizant of the significance of creating an enabling regulatory environment and infrastructure for all market participants who intend to bring their business operations in conformity with Shariah.
In order to provide them a level playing field, SECP is diligently working towards harmonization and standardization of regulations thus enabling all market players to benefit from a uniform regulatory environment. Earlier this year the SECP adopted 4 Shariah Standards of AAOIFI and this is an ongoing process where the objective is to adopt and comply with maximum Shariah and accounting standards set by AAOIFI and the IFSB. The Shariah compliance of companies is best gauged by the level of Standards that have been applied. SECP IS also in the process of drafting a Shariah Regulatory framework and it is for the first time that the provision of a “Shariah Complaint Company” has been given in the draft Companies Bill, 2016.
The ‘World Islamic Finance Forum’ (WIFF) was organized by the ‘Center for Excellence in Islamic Finance’ (CEIF), established by the Institute of Business Administration, IBA Karachi. Pak-Qatar Takaful Group was the Gold-Sponsor of this prestigious event. Through this conference, the participants were able to create awareness and gain a clearer understanding of various Islamic financial services, including Shariah-compliant Investments and Takaful (The Islamic mode of Insurance). The forum helped in building solid foundation and knowledge-base, by engaging the Professionals, Entrepreneurs, Academicians, Finance Managers, Students, Human Resources Managers, Consultants and other stake-holders of the industry.
The Chief Executive Officer of Pak-Qatar Family Takaful Limited (PQFTL) – Nasir Ali Syed stated that; “It was a delightful occasion for Pak-Qatar Takaful Group to be the Gold-sponsor of the ‘World Islamic Finance Forum’. We have partnered with IBA – the most prestigious institution in the country, to create awareness about this fast-growing Islamic-finance sector. Pak Qatar Takaful is committed to nurture highly competitive and learned managers for accelerating growth, by providing world-class training and research-based knowledge for the professionals in this industry.”

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