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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Ghana Muslim Mission launches Zakat Fund

The Greater Accra Regional branch of Ghana Muslim Mission (GMM) has launched its regional zakat fund aimed at becoming the leading and credible body in Ghana.

The GMM also aims to manage the fund professionally and in accordance with Islamic principles and tenets.

The fund seeks to encourage Muslims to pay their zakat and in turn manage the money for the good of beneficiaries as prescribed in the Quran and Hadith.

Mr Nurudeen Quaye, Greater Accra Regional Imam, GMM said Zakat is an obligatory act ordained by Allah to be performed by every adult and abled bodied Muslim and it is the third pillar of Islam.

He said the fund is to sensitise qualified Muslims to pay their zakat and by so doing help the payee to fulfil his or her religious duty to Allah.

He said this positions them and their community to obtain associated benefits from Allah.

He said the fund is also to provide a platform for the effective collection, management and disbursement of funds to the beneficiaries and manage payments to yield optimal returns within the bounds of Islamic principles.

Mr Quaye said zakat is mandatory on gold, silver and money, the produce of the earth of grains and fruits, livestock’s, camels, sheep , cattle and goats on the condition that they are free grazing, as well as goods owned to be sold.

He added that the fund is also to implement programmes targeted at identified beneficiaries as well as implement credible governance system that assures stakeholders it is managed prudently.

Dr Sheikh Amen Bonsu, National Chairman of the GMM said paying of zakat is a form of worship, and accordingly the payer of zakat submits one to the will of Allah.

He said payment of zakat helps to remove selfishness from ones heart which is a spiritual ailment inimical to one’s faith.

He said it is a form of self-purification and helps purify the property of the payer and abet the sufferings of the needy and poor thereby reducing ill feelings in the society.

Dr Bonsu said the fund would therefore provide a veritable means of accumulating funds to execute eligible projects for the Muslim community.

He urged Muslims to make it a point to pay their zakat into the fund for the development of the Muslim community in Ghana.

The board of trustees to take over sight responsibility of the fund includes Mr Suleiman Konney, Mr Issah Tagoe, Mr Ibrahim Mensah, Mr Mohammed Doku, Mr Ahmed Adjei Adjetey, Mr Mohammed Quarcoo, Mr Ahmed Quarcoo and Mrs Mariam Obeng.

The GMM was established in 1957 as a purely Islamic organisation with the aim of propagating the Islamic religion and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed as laid down in the Holy Quran and Hadith.

(Ghana Web / 04 November 2014)
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DIFC Investments prices $700m sukuk at 4.325 per cent

Dubai: The DIFC Investments LLC (DIFCI), late on Tuesday successfully priced its $700-million (Dh2.56 billion) 10-year sukuk issued at par with a 4.325 per cent profit rate.
The transaction, which represents DIFCI’s return to the debt capital markets since its issuance in 2007, was priced at 185 bps spread over US dollar mid-swaps. The DIFCI’s transaction is the first dollar-denominated benchmark issuance by a regional corporate since last July.
Ahead of the sukuk issuance, DIFCI was assigned a BBB-issuer credit rating by S&P. Shortly after receiving its credit rating, DIFCI undertook an extensive marketing strategy covering Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and London.
The order book opened on Monday morning and quickly gained momentum and was in excess of $1.9 billion by London close of business. The strong investor interest was sustained throughout Asia and the order book grew to approximately $3 billion, representing approximately 4.3 times oversubscription.
We are extremely pleased with the success of this transaction. The sukuk represents a milestone in DIFC’s credit story and acts as a testament to the improved credit fundamentals of the company,” Essa Abdulfattah Kazim, Governor of DIFC, said.
Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, Noor Bank. and Standard Chartered Bank acted as joint lead managers on the issuance. The sukuk will be listed on Nasdaq Dubai.
(Gulfnews.Com / 04 November 2014)
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Indonesia eyes consolidation, new laws in roadmap for Islamic finance

Authorities in Indonesia want to reshape the country's Islamic finance industry by encouraging consolidation and building a new regulatory system, as the sector plays catch-up to more mature markets in Malaysia and the Middle East.
Regulators are finalizing a five-year roadmap to be presented this month to industry players, who have repeatedly called for clearer laws.
"This is quite a deep review and I'm not surprised if the roadmap we have in the end is a full-fledged revision of what we have had," Halim Alamsyah, deputy governor of Bank Indonesia, the country's central bank, told Reuters.
Indonesia has the world's biggest Muslim population but its Islamic finance market lags well behind that of neighbor Malaysia: Indonesia's Islamic banks held 4.9 percent of total banking assets in the country last year compared with more than 20 percent for their Malaysian counterparts.
The central bank and the country's financial services authority, Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK), are looking at ways to give regulatory support for Islamic banks to hold at least 15 percent of the market by 2023. By that year, Islamic windows of conventional banks must be spun off into standalone entities.
The country is also looking at the idea of creating a large, standalone Islamic bank that could spur consolidation in the industry.
Such entities would have an ideal size of around 200 trillion rupiah ($16.5 billion), said Edy Setiadi, executive director for sharia banking at OJK. That is three times as large as the 65 trillion rupiah held by Indonesia's largest Islamic bank at present, PT Bank Syariah Mandiri. 
The country's ministry of state-owned enterprises first proposed the idea together with the central bank and OJK. Three options are being considered: the merging of several existing Islamic banks, the conversion of an existing conventional bank into an Islamic one, and creating an altogether new Islamic bank.
A bigger institution would have the scale to reduce operating costs and provide services at more competitive rates, the central bank's Alamsyah said.
There were 11 full-fledged Islamic banks and 23 Islamic windows in Indonesia with combined assets of 242 trillion rupiah last year, central bank data showed.
The new roadmap seeks to establish separate legal policies and infrastructure for the Islamic banking sector.
"The Islamic economy can go hand in hand with the conventional side until a certain point. As it becomes bigger, this may be the right time to have a separate way forward," said Alamsyah.
Regulators are considering ways to channel more government-related transactions to Islamic banks. "If that can happen, that would increase quite significantly the supply of Islamic funds," Alamsyah added.
New incentives would seek to make it easier for banks to sell their Islamic products. Under existing rules, banks can sell Islamic products throughout their network in a province as long as there is one standalone Islamic branch in that province. There are 34 provinces in Indonesia.
The rule could be changed to match the country's regions, of which there are only five, said OJK's Setiadi.
Regulators are also looking at laws with a view toward giving regulatory approval to more Islamic banking products, allowing for a wider product range to help sharia-compliant banks grab a bigger share of the market, Setiadi added without elaborating.

About 51 percent of Indonesia's population now owns bank accounts, latest statistics show, up from 40 percent in 2008.
(Reuters / 04 November 2014)
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