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Sunday, 3 February 2013

Islamic finance model growing globally

The Islamic financial system has grown tremendously over the last 40 years, says Dr Hatim El Tahir, Director, Islamic Finance Group, for Deloitte and Touche.

“The total size of the Islamic insurance industry  is US$1.3 trillion which is still small compared to the international financial market. In 1973 it was only US1$ billion,” he said on Thursday night during his contribution to a seminar on Islamic Banking hosted by the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) at the National Academy Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port-of-Spain.

The seminar was attended by members of the local Muslim community as well as other stakeholders including PSA president Watson Duke. During his presentation, El Tahir quoted a Professor of Finance and advisor to the Bank of England who said it is time for policy makers to look at the Islamic finance model to finance customer needs through the equity based model that underpins the system.

Devant Maharaj, Minister of Food Production, who gave the feature address, said Islamic banking is practised globally and “represents a way of expressing financial transactions to comply with Islamic law”.

“It is estimated that 300 financial institutions across the globe practise Islamic financing but this mode of financing is new to the ADB. It is important to share insights into Islamic financing. Other large institutions tried to introduce Islamic financing many years ago. The ADB now stands way ahead. In the future new products will be made available to Muslims and non-Muslim agri-entrepreneurs of T&T,” Maharaj said.

He said the provision of concessionary terms plays a role in stimulating investment in the agricultural sector through the introduction of new grants.

“These include the reduction in loan lending rates, new rebranding of products at more competitive terms than ever before, increased banking visibility and accessibility for customers to make financing more accessible to the farmers.

It is within the very turbulent economic environment characterised by growing food insecurity that the PP Government has consistently stressed  the importance of agriculture  as one of the key areas in national development,” the minister said.

(Guardian-Media / 02 Feb 2013)

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