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Thursday, 1 August 2013

Bangladesh: Centralised zakat collection urged

Zakat funds should be collected centrally and then dispensed through social safety net programmes to alleviate poverty, speakers said at a seminar yesterday.

“A centralised zakat collection system could raise as much as Tk 200 billion, which could then be used properly to fulfil the purpose of zakat, which is eliminate poverty,” said Mohammad Sabur Khan, president of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), citing a 2011 study of ex-Bangladesh Bank executive director Abdur Raquib.

This is approximately two percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), he added.

“If everyone pays their zakat dues, the collected amount could total up to 4.3 percent of the GDP,” said Dr Mohammad Ayub Miah, chief executive officer of the Centre for Zakat Management (CZM).

The zakat funds raised are below the potential because there is a lack of awareness about the methods to calculate how much zakat a person should pay, the speakers observed at the event organised by DCCI and CZM on DCCI premises in the capital.

“We have to start thinking about how zakat can make the maximum impact, since the responsibility does not end in just giving it,” said Sabur Khan.

(The Daily Star / 30 July 2013)

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Islamic finance: Industry body launches manual for credit unions

The World Council of Credit Unions launched a manual discussing how to establish and operate Shariah-compliant credit unions in developing countries, which could help to broaden the Islamic finance industry’s retail customer base.
With the exception of Islamic insurance, the cooperative financing model of credit unions is not widely used in Islamic finance, although the industry can trace its modern roots to Egypt’s Mitt Ghamr cooperative, a credit union set up in 1963.
The World Council, a US-based trade association which operates internationally, hopes the manual will help to develop Islamic credit unions across a wide range of markets.
“The manual now provides a cornerstone for local credit union development in countries as diverse as Libya and Pakistan to Australia and the United States,” said Brian Branch, the World Council’s president and chief executive.

(The Express Tribune / 01 Aug 2013)

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Noor Islamic Bank’s CEO calls for global body to regulate Islamic finance industry

Dubai: Standardisation of the regulations governing Islamic finance is a must to ensure the globalisation of Islamic finance, according to Hussain Al Qemzi, CEO of Noor Investment Group and CEO of Noor Islamic Bank (Noor),
Speaking at a DIFC hosted conference on the future of Islamic finance, jointly organised by Noor and Thomson Reuters, Al Qemzi said the lack of standardisation is holding back the growth of Islamic finance.
Although regional standardisation bodies exist, adherence to their standards varies from country to country and region to region. “It is a real concern that there is no authoritative global body to regulate and promote Islamic finance, AlQemzi said.
“Disagreement and different interpretations, over what is Shari’a compliant and what is not, continue to make it difficult to establish the necessary regulations for the industry to develop globally accepted products.
“Some people argue that standardisation is an unrealistic goal, given the fragmented nature of Islamic finance. I do not agree. There is a need for balanced, globally accepted, regulation that does not impede growth, or allow for abuse,” Al Qemzi added.
Industry estimates put the value of the Islamic finance sector at $1.5 trillion, little more than 1 per cent of the overall global financial sector. And, despite impressive annual growth rates of 15 per cent to 20 per cent, AlQemzi said there is no real tangible evidence that Islamic finance is a world force.
Even in Muslim countries, conventional finance has a larger market share than Islamic finance.
For example in Malaysia, Al Qemzi told delegates, Islamic lending accounts for just 26.6 per cent of overall lending. While in the UAE, Islamic finance accounts for only 12 per cent of the financial sector.
Al Qemzi called for practical measures to be implemented that progressively address impediments to the growth of Islamic finance.
“We need to create an enabling environment for cross border connectivity through Islamic finance,” he said. “This will require measures to develop domestic capital markets and should go hand-in-hand with national market reforms, based on common international standards.
“Domestic markets should also be strengthened by widening the issuer and investor bases, with more issuances in currencies other than the domestic currency, to attract investors from across the globe.
“And there should be greater collaboration and cooperation among, and between national economies in which Islamic finance participates,” Al Qemzi added.

Inovative products, services
Since its launch in 2008, Noor has gained a reputation for offering innovative, client-focused, banking products and services. It continues to lead the retail banking market in providing convenient banking solutions, including the UAE’s first fully operational mobile internet banking experience in the Arabic language.
Noor was also the first Islamic bank to offer an on-line account opening service and the first UAE bank to operate a 24/7 branch. Its insurance arm, Noor Takaful, was the first Takaful operator to offer online insurance services and products.

(Gulfnews.Com / 31 July 2013)

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