THE National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), the lead government agency tasked to spearhead the Philippine Halal industry, in partnership with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), is now pushing for a new legislation on Islamic banking.
Secretary Yasmin Busran-Lao of NCMF told reporters Wednesday at the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the first Mindanao Halal Festival that they are now furnishing the draft of a bigger legal framework for Islamic banking.
"Our legal framework in the country on Islamic banking is not that friendly and embracing. At present, we are closely working with BSP to address that," she said, adding that banking andfinancing is still covered by Halal, which is not limited to food and products only.
She said that part of the plan is the conversion of Al Ahmana bank in the Philippines to a fully Shari'ah compliant bank.
"While we are working on the bigger Islamic banking legal framework, we revisited the Al Ahmana bank chapter and we thought of the transformation of the bank to a fully Islamic bank," she said.
"I hope that the business sector will be able to see an opportunity in this and support our move to transform Al Ahmana bank and introduce a more open and accessible Islamic banking to the public, not just for the Muslim community alone," she said, adding that in MayBank Malaysia, a fully Islamic bank, 80 percent of its client are non-Muslims.
Lao also mentioned that with the country's pluralistic legal system, there is a need to also have a pluralistic economic system.
European countries like United Kingdom and Germany are dominated by Islamic way of banking.
Meanwhile, NCMF reported that the global Halal trade is estimated to be worth US$150 billion annually. Southeast Asia and Middle East are considered to be the two strongest markets for Halal products with more than 400 million consumers.