Kazakhstan approves new laws

Kazakhstan's parliament approved new Islamic finance laws yesterday, moving a step closer to launching the oil-producing nation's first sovereign Islamic bond - possibly early next year. The lower house of the legislature passed a bill introducing new definitions, such as Islamic insurance, Islamic leasing and "murabaha", an acceptable form of credit sale under Sharia. The Finance Ministry is expected to propose a new draft law on sukuk very soon. Kazakhstan's first Islamic bond was a 240 million Malaysian ringgit ($73m), five-year sukuk issued by state-owned Development Bank of Kazakhstan in 2012.