Saudi Arabian construction firm Abdullah Abdul Mohsin Al Khodari and Sons has renewed an existing 132 million riyal (Dh129.2 million, $35.2 million) Islamic credit facility with Samba Financial Group. The facility will provide bonding commitments as well as capital and working capital requirements for projects and general business. Credit limits for projects covered by the facility will range from 36 to 60 months. Khodari has also won a 69 million riyal contract from the kingdom’s Ministry of Environment, Water & Agriculture for the maintenance of water networks. The financial impact of the project is expected to start in the third quarter.
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) will take part in financing of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline’s construction. Economic feasibility of the TAPI project is confirmed by experts of the countries participating in the project and independent international experts. They testify to the guaranteed capacity of Turkmenistan to ensure long-term gas supply via this route. The development of Galkynysh field envisages 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. Turkmengas state concern has announced a tender for the provision of services on project management, which will be implemented with the participation of the IDB. The project is expected to be completed in late 2019.
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) will take part in financing of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline's construction.
Islamic finance is making further inroads in agricultural sectors globally. The trend is increasingly adopted in Central and Westerns Asian countries, in Southeast Asia and in Sub-Saharan Africa. Firstly, the impact of Islamic finance can be higher than that of other financial products due to its asset-based structure. It can be applied in many fields, starting from the purchase of farming machines and equipment, seeds and pesticides, warehouses, as well as in the dairy, livestock and fishery sectors. Ijara contracts can be used for leasing or renting farm machines and other equipment. Other structures such as musharaka or mudaraba can be used for long-term developments such as rural housing, reforestation or irrigation. Secondly, Islamic finance can help broaden financial inclusion by establishing cooperatives or partnership-based financing structures. In Pakistan the state bank has now issued guidelines on Islamic agricultural finance. In Indonesia, the government has launched a new national master plan and has explicitly included agriculture as a field for Islamic finance.
The federal government has asked for the scaling up of Islamic Development Bank’s (IDB’s) concessional resource and increased overall financing to Nigeria and other African member countries of the bank. Speaking at the inauguration of the IDB Country Gateway Office (CGO) in Abuja, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said there are immense opportunities in Nigeria. The minister pointed out that Nigeria requires far more resources to face the challenges and diversify its economy. She also urged the the IDB Group to help in the recently constituted Buhari Plan for the Revitalisation of the Northeast Region of Nigeria.
#UAE based National Bonds has started providing financial planning tips and tools via its website. The new financial planning section offers valuable information in both Arabic and English to help customers achieve their financial objectives. Topics cover planning for retirement and children’s education, debt management, investment solutions, takaful and estate planning. In addition, the website offers practical financial planning tips on goal setting, cash management and budgeting, financial health, and the rule of 72. The portal also includes online calculators for accurately computing expenses, commitments and budgets. Mohammed Qasim Al-Ali, CEO of National Bonds, said the new online tool will save time and effort for those looking for simple and straightforward financial planning.
Dr. Bambang Permadi Soemantri Brodjonegoro, Indonesia’s former Finance Minister and current Minister of National Development Planning, discusses the recent tax amnesty legislation and current economic prospects for Indonesia. Hosting the recent 12th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in Jakarta aims to promote Indonesia to the Muslim community, sending a message that Indonesia is a reliable economy with a lot of potential. The WIEF tries to develop Islamic finance that is more inclusive. Indonesia wants to focus on Islamic microfinance and on Muslim-friendly tourism. Beyond tourism, Muslim fashion is a sector that already has a huge market and will be increasingly important for Indonesia.
A 2% tax cut announced for all Shariah-compliant companies is bound to give a big boost to Islamic Banking in Pakistan. The government has introduced the 2% rebate for Shariah-compliant companies through the Finance Act 2016. The Finance Act also covers the entire national budget for the fiscal year 2017. The latest decision to expand the programme followed a report by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), which confirmed a continuing spread of the Islamic banking system in the country. Islamic banks currently have a 13% share of the conventional banking in Pakistan.
The Indonesian government has launched a national master plan to develop its Islamic finance industry. Indonesian Islamic banks hold roughly 5% of total banking assets, compared with more than 20% in neighbouring Malaysia. According to Farrukh Raza, managing director of IFAAS, an Islamic finance consultancy which designed the 10-year master plan, the government would increase its use of Islamic debt instruments to as much as 50% of total issuance in 10 years time. Indonesia's pilgrims' fund would also see the establishment of a dedicated asset management arm to implement a more rigorous investment policy and attract external fund managers.
In #Malaysia Bank Negara governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim said Islamic banking assets made up 27% of the total banking system, surpassing Bank Negara’s Financial Sector Masterplan. He said that there were 27 takaful players offering more than 100 financial products now compared with fewer than four Islamic banks and takaful players before year 2000. He added that the penetration rate for takaful now stood at 14.8% of the population, indicating growing acceptance of takaful products. On the launch of the Educator’s Manual on Shariah Standard Murabahah, Muhammad said that the manual was aimed to act as a comprehensive teaching guide to enhance the Islamic finance syllabus. It was jointly developed by Bank Negara in collaboration with the International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance and IBFIM.
In #Pakistan the Ministry of Finance stated that amendments in legal framework are under review to strengthen the framework of taxation proposals for Islamic Banking. The initiatives mainly include review of Mudaraba guidelines to align those with overall regulatory framework of Islamic Finance, issuance of Sukuk guidelines, issuance of Takaful rules and government Ijara Sukuk. A multi-tiered Shariah supervisory and compliance framework has been put in place. Also, a Shariah governance framework for Islamic Banking Institutions (IBIs) was formulated, which explicitly defines Shariah related rules and responsibilities of all key organs of IBIs. The initial Minimum Capital Requirement (MCR) for an Islamic Banking subsidiary was revised from Rs 10 billion to Rs 6 billion.
This case study reports on three governance challenges overcome by a diversified family enterprise from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. One of the early lessons for the family was to separate emotions from business. They did this by appointing independent directors whose role was to set the strategy behind the business. In order to engage everyone, they established a family assembly, where each and every branch would always be fairly represented. The family assembly membership was and still is based on merit, and its chairman is always the eldest member of the family.
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) launched the Educator's Manual on Shariah standards and operational requirements in accordance with the Murabahah principle. BNM Governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim said the manual serves as an important material towards enhancing the quality of Islamic finance education. The manual was developed by BNM together with the International Shari'ah Research Academy for lslamic Finance (ISRA) and the Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia (IBFIM). A panel of 20 experts in various fields contributed to its content.
The Maldives is working towards enlarging its Islamic finance industry to diversify its economy away from tourism. The country aims to become an investment hub for South Asia and centre for the halal industry in the region. To that end, President Yameen Abdul Gayyoom’s government has developed a roadmap to expand Islamic financial services throughout the archipelago. Last year, the Ministry of Economic Development started offering Islamic microfinancing through the Bank of Maldives, and earlier in 2016, the government launched Hazana Maldives, a special-purpose vehicle for the further development of Islamic finance. It also created a Shariah advisory board and laid the regulatory framework for sukuk investment.
According to a new report by Thomson Reuters, Islamic finance assets grew by 10% to reach $2 trillion in 2015. Islamic banking represented 73% of these assets, followed by sukuk which represented 17%. The increase in assets was driven by strong growth in all sectors - Islamic banking, takaful, outstanding sukuk and net value of Islamic funds. Islamic finance assets are projected to grow to $3.2 trillion by 2020, with Islamic banking reaching $2.6 trillion. The report added that the sukuk market on the other hand has struggled in the past couple of years due to the global economic uncertainty. Total issuance is expected to be around $70 billion by end of 2016.
Tun Abdullah Badawi, the former Prime Minister of #Malaysia, has launched the Waqf (Islamic Endowment) crowdfunding platform or WaqfWorld. The new platform was announced at the 12th World Islamic Economic Foundation Forum (WIEF) held in Jakarta last week. The platform was developed in partnership with EthisVentures.com. Founding patron, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi saw the potential of Waqf Crowdfunding to develop the whole community of Muslims. WaqfWorld.org does not charge beneficiaries or users any fees. The platform is completely free during the initial phase. Operational costs will be partially borne by voluntary contributions, and other resources provided by Ethis Ventures.
There is little escape from the volatility that the Brexit vote has wreaked. Islamic banks' partiality for UK real estate could be particularly painful if property prices fall, as they are predicted to, by as much as 10%. Islamic banks' overreliance on the property sector is well documented, and Britain has long been a favourite destination for real estate investment. The biggest issue facing the UK financial services sector is whether institutions will retain their passporting rights. There is much at stake for Britain too. Islamic finance plays a significant role in infrastructure development in the UK, from The Shard to the Olympic Village. Over 6500 homes are currently being financed by a GBP 700 million investment by Gatehouse Bank. The UK cannot afford to lose this funding, especially when investment from Europe dries up.
Executives of Indonesian and Malaysian stock markets signed on Tuesday a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the establishment of a World Sharia Stock Market Center. Signing of the document was conducted by Indonesia Stock Exchange President Director Tito Sulistio and his Malaysian counterpart Tajuddin Bin Atan. The planned center aims to develop Sharia products and portfolios for stock markets, but also to train human resources to become competent, professional and skillful persons in the industry. Global Sharia financial market was estimated to expand to USD 3.24 trillion by 2020.
Investors from the Islamic financial world could be the answer to Italy’s problems in the wake of the Brexit. On a recent conference in Italy, participants said this would require legislative changes to follow Islamic principles. A working group at the Lower House’s financial commission is looking into the matter. Participants also suggested issuing State bonds following the rules of Islamic finance. Under the proposal, the assets would consist of State-owned real estate, bought and re-sold by a company set up for the purpose, whose participating shares would be bought by investors.
Khazanah Nasional, the $27 billion Malaysian sovereign fund, is weighing a bid for control of the insurance operations of billionaire Quek Leng Chan’s Hong Leong Financial Group. Khazanah is considering an offer for Hong Leong Financial’s 70% stake in Hong Leong Assurance and its 65% holding in Hong Leong MSIG Takaful. The bid could be valued at about 3.2 billion ringgit ($799 million). Hong Leong Financial said last month that Malaysia’s central bank had no objection to the sale of its stakes in the two insurance units.