the Philippines

Amendment of Islamic financing bill pushed

The Mindanao Development Authority (MINDA) is currently pushing to fast track the institutionalization of the Islamic Financing Mechanism. MINDA assistant secretary Romeo Montenegro said they are proposing the amendment in order to have specific mechanisms for full implementation of the Islamic Finance Mechanism. He added the bill in the Senate is already in the committee level and are already waiting for the same version to be filed in the House of Representatives. Montenegro said they wish to have the Islamic Financing Mechanism to pilot at Marawi to help with the reconstruction efforts in the area. It is also targeted to be a channel for the Middle Eastern countries willing to shell out financial support for the victims of the Marawi siege.

ABAC backs development of Islamic Infra Investment

The #Philippine team of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) has expressed interest in developing the Islamic Infrastructure Investment Program (I3P), making it a priority for the country. ABAC Philippines said it would look into how the Philippines can tap into the available funds from the Islamic banks in the region. The advisory council has identified infrastructure investment, areas involving people and labor, and micro, small and medium enterprise development as key priority areas for the country. For people-to-people connectivity, ABAC Philippines agreed to continue advocating for labor mobility and working on the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC). It will also work with the Department of Foreign Affairs on how to improve access to ABTC and to increase penetration of the travel card among Filipino business people.

Peza sets #investment roadshows next month

The #Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has scheduled investment roadshows in the Middle East to attract investors to explore the Philippine market. According to Peza director general Charito Plaza, this will be in preparation for President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to visit the Middle East on Feb. 26 to March 3. Plaza mentioned that the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, local government officials, and economic zone developers would join the investment promotion agency in its roadshow in the Middle East. PEZA recently held a seminar on sukuk to help local companies understand doing business with Middle East-based firms. Plaza noted the government aimed to expand the presence of Islamic banks in the country to facilitate investments.

Panel okays Sharia banks

The #Philippines' House committee on banks and financial intermediaries has approved the measures that would pave the way for the expansion of Islamic banking in the country. The new House Bill amends the Philippine’s lone Islamic bank, the Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank to regulate and organize an expanded Islamic banking system in the Philippines. Former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said the enactment of the measure was very timely as this would help the country’ growth inclusive and sustainable. The consolidated proposal will make the Al-Amanah independent from the Development Bank of the Philippines, be a universal bank with initial paid up capitalization of P10 billion and will be the first in the country to fully engage in Islamic banking that can issue sukuk.

2 firms become Shariah compliant

In the #Philippines Golden Haven Memorial Park and Cemex Philippines are now among the Shariah-compliant securities listed locally. Golden Haven and Cemex were among the 56 listed securities that made it to the Shariah list. Chief Operating Officer of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), Roel A. Refran, said the PSE continues to provide a list of Shariah-compliant securities to cater to the needs of Islamic investors. He noted that by highlighting listed firms that adhere to the standards of Shariah law, PSE hopes to open investment opportunities in the country to Islamic funds.

Lidasan: Strengthen Al Amanah Islamic Investment Bank

President of the #Philippines Rody Duterte announced the need to help the people of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank of the Philippines (AAIIBP) is the only bank authorized to conduct Islamic Banking business in the country. The AAIIBP total Assets for the month of July 2016 is P785.66 million, a decrease from previous month’s total assets of P795.05 million. In comparison to the same period last year, there is an increase of P6.58 million in total assets largely due to higher deposit levels in 2016. According to lawyer Arifa Ala, there is a significant untapped market opportunity for banks in the Philippines, because only about 30% of Filipino adults have deposit accounts at a financial institution.

#Philippines may join Asian sovereigns testing #Sukuk market

Plans by the Philippines to sell Islamic bonds could open a new source of financing for the incoming government of Rodrigo Duterte. Governments across Asia are increasingly viewing sukuk as a viable funding option, with Hong Kong open to tap the market for a third time while Sri Lanka and the Maldives consider debuts. A sukuk from these debutante countries could widen the Asian market that is dominated by sovereign deals from Malaysia and Indonesia. The Duterte government would have to work on a legal framework to facilitate sukuk, which could prove difficult in a busy agenda. Ashraf Mohammed, Assistant General Counsel of Asian Development Bank, said despite the concerns, interest is growing in the region to use Sukuk for infrastructure financing.

Manila plans to raise debt via #sukuk, yuan borrowings

The #Philippines’ incoming finance minister is looking at raising debt via sukuk bonds and yuan borrowings in a bid to diversify its debt profile. The Philippines last went to the debt market in February selling $2bn of 25-year bonds. Minister Carlos Dominguez is also planning to impose new taxes on more unhealthy products to compensate for a planned cut in income taxes. He also said he would put casinos under an anti-money laundering legislation to avoid a repeat of the Bangladesh Bank heist. Dominguez is returning to the Cabinet after 27 years and will assume office on June 30.

PHL Islamic banking framework up to legislators

When asked about the plans of the central bank on Al-Amanah Bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. said they found it best to leave it to the Legislative to decide how the government will go about the planned sale, as well as on how the state will accommodate Islamic-based banking activities. BSP has led the drafting of a law amending AIIB charter and creating an Islamic banking system. The bill thereon which has been filed in the House of Representatives aims to create an expanded Islamic banking system and address constraints including the issues on taxation. Currently, Al-Amanah Bank is the first and only Islamic bank authorized to practice Islamic banking in the country.

Lack of rules delays ‘sukuk’ bonds issuance

The Philippines first sukuk issuance may have to wait a while despite recent pronouncements from both the private and the public sectors of plans to tap Muslim investors. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said rules did not exist yet to allow firms or government agencies to issue debt instruments that comply with Islamic shariah laws. Last month, state-run National Home Mortgage Finance Corp. (NHMFC) said it planned to issue P2 billion in Islamic bonds in behalf of a Mindanao-based firm. NHMFC would tap government banks Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines as underwriters for the debt issuance.

BSP backs bill allowing entry of more Islamic banks in PHL

The house of Representatives has started discussing a proposal to allow other Islamic banks to operate in the Philippines, in an attempt to put it at the same level as commercial banks. The House committee on banks and financial intermediaries yesterday took up a proposal amending the charter of the Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank, which is currently the only Islamic bank in the country. House Bill 5989 seeks to amend Republic Act 6848 by breaking the monopoly of Al-Amanah bank, which would give the green light for the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to authorize new entities to come in. The Al-Amanah bank remains a fully owned subsidiary of the Development Bank of the Philippines.

Latip-Yusoph: Islamic financing possibilities

Islamic banking and financing as it is introduced in the Philippines opened a lot of inquiries and challenges. In the previously held Forum on Islamic Banking and Financing by the Mindanao State University–Iligan Institute of Technology, in partnership with Anak Mindanao and National Commission on Muslim Filipinos last September 2 at MSU IIT Campus, Iligan City, participants from different sectors especially the future accountants of the university, both Muslims and non-Muslims, were given the basics of such concepts by the resource persons. This is a system that can be adopted by all.

New legislation on Islamic banking pushed

The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), the lead government agency tasked to spearhead the Philippine Halal industry, in partnership with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), is now pushing for a new legislation on Islamic banking. Secretary Yasmin Busran-Lao of NCMF told reporters Wednesday at the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the first Mindanao Halal Festival that they are now furnishing the draft of a bigger legal framework for Islamic banking. She said that part of the plan is the conversion of Al Ahmana bank in the Philippines to a fully Shari'ah compliant bank.

Regional Conflicts in the South China Sea Could Rival the Middle East One Day

The South China Sea reportedly holds 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas; some experts estimate even more. Unfortunately, there's no clear way to define who "owns" these resources, as China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei all believe some, or all, of these resources belong to them. Many of these countries are forced to import a considerable percentage of their overall demand. Investors need to keep an eye on Southeast Asia, and the South China Sea in particular. The oil in place under that sea, as well as its importance as a trade route, could push some nations to the boiling point as they rush to secure their supply of oil. That's a catalyst for some stocks, while a big risk for others.

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.

Sukuk Entice Canada Issuing $2 Billion to Spread Funding: Islamic Finance

The growing demand for securities that meet Islamic religious principles may lead Canadian governments and companies to start issuing Shariah bonds.
HSBC Bank Canada may offer $500 million and three government-related borrowers from one Canadian province may issue $1.5 billion of sukuk, Omar Kalair, chief executive officer of Toronto-based UM Financial, said in an Oct. 14 interview. A “handful” of Canadian companies may sell C$1 billion ($980 million) of Islamic debt by 2013, said Daud Vicary Abdullah, global Islamic finance leader at Deloitte Corporate Advisory Services Sdn. in Kuala Lumpur.
Egypt, Nigeria, the Philippines and Thailand have announced plans to sell their first sukuk in the past three months, partly to tap Persian Gulf oil wealth.

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