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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Malaysia: Centre makes it easier for people to pay zakat

KUALA LUMPUR: Pusat Pungutan Zakat (PPZ) collects tithes and is a subsidiary of Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP).

Its chief executive, Mohd Rais Alias, said people could check with PPZ whether they had to pay zakat as owners of companies or individuals.
"You can come directly to the counter or seek information on our portal. We even calculate the amount you need to pay."
PPZ collects both property tithes and zakat fitrah. The latter is collected during Ramadan. This year, 10 counters in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan were open every day throughout the fasting month for zakat fitrah collection.
"All counters are also open during office hours daily throughout December. Sometimes, we extend the operating hours. PPZ has been doing this since its inception in 1991."
He said PPZ had taken several measures to raise zakat collection, one of which was having a theme. This year's theme is "Year of Property Tithe".
"Based on the theme, we have an annual collection target."
Rais said these measures had raised the total collection of zakat annually and there had been a 63 per cent increase this year. This was proof that the level of awareness among Malaysians had increased.
He added that PPZ had provided many payment channels.
"We have also come up with an application called 'i-zakat' for Android smartphone users and appointed certain banks and agencies to collect zakat."

(New Straits Times / 25 Nov 2012)

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Islamic banks urged to harmonise financial reporting practices

KPMG and ACCA report calls on standard setters and Islamic banks to work together. 

The rapid global growth in Islamic finance means that action must be taken to ensure that the way in which it is reported financially is harmonised and made more consistent, a report, based on a series of high level international roundtables, by KPMG and ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has concluded.

The report calls on the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the Islamic Finance industry to work together to develop guidance, standards and educate the investor community on key issues.

The roundtables in Kuala Lumpur, Dubai and London, which brought together experts in Islamic Finance, bankers and finance professionals working in the sector, along with regulatory authorities, academics and ratings agencies, made a number of recommendations to both the IASB and Islamic Finance Institutes (IFIs), which are highlighted in the new report published by KPMG and ACCA.
• The IASB should consider issuing guidance on the application of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) when accounting for certain Islamic financial products which are offered by Islamic financial institutions and conventional banks.   
• It should also consider issuing guidance on additional disclosures that could be made for stakeholders who are seeking information on the entity’s Sharia-compliant operations.
• The IASB should work with the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and other leading Islamic finance standard setters and regulators globally to establish the gaps between IFRS and Islamic accounting standards and to review the needs of users. This should also include a review of terminology used in IFRS, and consider whether such sensitive terms as ‘interest’ – forbidden in all forms in Islamic banking- can be amended or added to.
• If Islamic finance is to be part of the IASB agenda, the IFIs should support IASB by forming an expert advisory group, including Islamic scholars from various jurisdictions, which could contribute to the development of new standards and help with the overall review or provide advice on an ad hoc basis.
•The IFIs need to conduct further outreach and education, particularly with the investor community, while providers of professional qualifications should look into the relevance of Islamic Finance to their syllabuses and the members.
•The industry needs to engage more with local regulators to understand their expectations of financial reporting and the disclosure of Islamic financial instruments.

Samer Hijazi, a director in KPMG’s Financial Services Audit practice, and co-author of the report, said: “The Islamic finance industry has reached a new stage of maturity. It has a wider variety of customers and stakeholders and a presence in more countries around the world than ever before. As the IASB seeks to establish IFRS as a single high quality set of global financial reporting standards now is the right time to consider how Islamic finance fits into this global framework. Greater comparability and consistency in financial reporting will benefit not only the IFIs but also the international banks which offer Islamic financial services around the world.”
Aziz Tayyebi, head of international development at ACCA and its expert in Islamic Finance, and report co-author said: “ One of the key challenges facing Islamic finance and global standards setters is how to resolve the fact that IFIs in different countries  can report transactions in different ways, which creates uncertainty for organisations which are trying to assess and compare them not only with each other, but with conventional counterparts. If they are to remain competitive with conventional counterparts, their financial reports need to be comparable. This will involve a great deal of work and education, but should be beneficial for IFIs and those who rely on their reports.

(Director Of Finance Online / 26 Nov 2012)

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Malaysia: SC holds Islamic finance public lecture by Iqbal Khan

MALAYSIA (Nov 26, 2012): The Securities Commission (SC) will hold a public lecture by prominent Islamic banker Iqbal Khan, recipient of the prestigious Royal Award for Islamic Finance 2012, in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.
Titled "Our Markets, Our Values – A principles-based approach to creating value in Muslim majority markets", the lecture will focus on the developments and key issues in the Muslim-majority markets including values which had fundamentally driven the history and development of the Islamic finance industry.
The lecture will begin at 2pm and will be followed with a 30-minute Q&A session.
"This will be a platform for intellectual discussion and learning that provides an opportunity for the business community, academics, students and the public to understand the developments in Islamic finance globally," said the SC in a statement today.
Members of the public are invited to attend the public lecture. Attendance, while free, is by registration only.
(The Sun Daily / 26 Nov 2012)

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Sharjah Congress to Help Tap Into USD1B Islamic Finance & Cosmetic Industry

The opening up of new markets and launch of new products are driving the US 1 trillion global Islamic finance & Islamic Cosmetics industry to new heights, and the growth prospects of the industry will be the highlight of an upcoming industry event in Sharjah.

The increasing recognition of its value propositions has made Islamic finance more widely accepted in many countries, including the UK, Singapore, Germany and Central Asia, and new markets such as China and other emerging countries.

Although the Islamic banking industry currently constitutes only 1.6 per cent of the total assets of the top 50 largest banks in the world (at US 66.2 trillion at the end-2011), it remains one of the fastest growing segments in the global financial services sector, according to a recent study.

"In the early stages, Islamic finance found favour only with countries with large Muslim populations such as GCC, Egypt and Malaysia. Over the past decade or so, the Islamic finance industry has spread its wings, and rapidly grown to become a key component of the international financial system," said Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General of Expo Centre Sharjah, ahead of inaugural Halal Congress Middle East and Halal Food Middle East trade show.

Expo Centre Sharjah will host the Halal Congress on December 11 to 12, 2012, while the Halal Food Middle East will be held at the same venue from December 10 to 12, 2012. 

Recognizing the importance of Islamic finance and its growth prospects, the topic will be highlighted during the two-day Congress, which will also look at takaful insurance, Halal pharma industry, cosmetics & personal care sectors.

"Leading experts, scientists and Halal promoters have confirmed their participation as speakers and panelists for Halal Congress Middle East. The speakers who have already confirmed their names include Dr Ali Fanous of Germany, Ms Ana Maria Aisha Tiozzo of Italy. The other speakers are in the process of being finalized," said Asad Sajjad, CEO of Halal Development Council of Pakistan, the co-organiser of the Congress. 

The congress will also look at opportunities available in American and European Halal markets, common mistakes committed by international Halal certification bodies, the need for a global Halal assurance system, food contaminates, emerging Halal markets, and business opportunities around the world, among others.

The global Halal cosmetics as well as pharmaceutical industries are also on a rapid growth trajectory, with the Middle East and surrounding regions having to depend on imports due to little or no local manufacturing.

"Several surveys have pointed out that like Halal food, there is demand for Halal pharmaceuticals and cosmetics too... but unlike food, Halal medicines and personal care products are not easily available in the local market. The congress will offer producers and buyers a platform to understand and assess the market dynamics in relation to these products," said A. Maktoom Jan of Jan Bros. Jan Bros is the manufacturer of the first certified Halal Tooth Paste "Abaan" in the UAE.

(Menafn.Com / 26 Nov 2012)

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