Govt to create post to deal with Islamic Finance: Miftah

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World Islamic Finance Forum opens in Karachi

Masroor Afzal Pasha

Karachi

Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance Affairs Dr Miftah Ismail has assured Islamic finance sector that he would soon create a post at Finance Ministry that would solely deal with the Islamic Finance Industry.
He further said the Islamic finance industry that he would soon convene the meeting for implementation of the recommendations of Steering Committee for the promotion of Islamic banking in the country.
He was speaking at the two-day World Islamic Finance Forum (WIFE) 2018 organized by IBA Centre for Excellence in Islamic Finance (CIEF) in collaboration with key partners here on Monday. The theme is “Expanding the Footprint of Islamic Finance: Innovation, Fintech & Regulations”. The keynote speakers are local and international academic and industry leaders.
Highlighting the performance of present government, Miftah said that we are set to achieve a 6 percent GDP growth which is highest growth rate for last one decade. 6 percent GDP growth would create lots of job opportunities and claimed that Pakistan has the potential to achieve 8 to 10 percent growth rate, he hoped.
The present government has removed the basic bottlenecks from the path of growth of prosperity that includes Energy shortage, law and order and Red-tapism for the business and economy, he claimed.
Globally acknowledged Shariah Scholar and Chairman, Shariah Board of AAOIFI, Shaikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani said, “We made a humble beginning in Pakistan, but the point of satisfaction is that people of Pakistan origin are holding key positions in Islamic banking around the world, making contribution in developing regulatory framework and above all developing products that are meeting the emerging needs of trade and business.”
Taqi Usmani urged the government to take concrete steps to get rid of Riba from the economy in absolute terms. He urged the government to immediately establish a section or division at Ministry of Finance to be headed by an additional or joint secretary level official so that problem and issues of Islamic finance sector are addressed.
He said that Islamic financial institutions have excess liquidity and the government should work on creating avenues for the deployment of these excess funds.
He said that Implementation Committee at Ministry of Finance which is dormant must be activated for the goal of Islamization of the economy.
Mufti Taqi Usmani advised current Government to include a resolution in its election manifesto to eradicate the Riba totally.
The Chief Guest of the conference Shaikh Ebrahim Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Chairman AAOIFI Board of Trustees said that “Pakistan is striving hard to become another hub of Islamic finance. It has all the basic ingredients i.e. a population of 200 million predominantly Muslims, a robust banking and finance sector, vibrant agriculture, industrial and services sectors.”
“The apex regulator, State Bank of Pakistan, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan are playing a proactive role, he said, adding, “The progress made during more than one decade is encouraging and provide the faith that achieving the target will not be difficult.”
President of Meezan Bank, Irfan Siddiqui said requested the Federal Government to set a target to acquire at least 25 percent of the local funding through Islamic Banking as Islamic financial institutions have excess liquidity and limited avenues for investment.
A dedicated desk should be established at Ministry of Finance for Issuance of Sukuk headed by Additional Secretary for targeting a Sukuk issue of Rs500 billion in the next 6 months period, he informed.
Irfan further said that “It is a matter of great pride that Meezan Bank, first full service Islamic commercial bank is playing a key role in the promotion of Islamic banking in Pakistan and our work has been acknowledged globally.”
“I am confident that exchanging views at WIFE will enable Pakistan to play its due role,” he hoped.
The Director of IBA Centre for Excellence in Islamic Finance, Ahmed Ali Siddiqui said that IBA CEIF has emerged as a regional platform for excellence in Islamic finance.
He said that focus areas of IBA CEIF include the development of Islamic finance professionals and new human resource talent pool through industry linkages and international collaborations.