KARACHI: Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Wednesday announced that Pakistan had been declared a positive state by Moody’s, an international rating agency.
“Pakistan’s foreign currency government bond rating outlook was rated negative by the same agency before the Pakistan Muslim League-N came into power and Pakistan was declared to be on the brink of bankruptcy, then the country maintained a stable position in July 2014 and it is overwhelming joy for the whole nation that Pakistan has recovered its position now,” he said while addressing an opening ceremony of proposals on establishment of Center of Excellence for promotion of Islamic Finance at headquarters of State Bank of Pakistan.
“I would call it a blessing of the occasion for promotion of Islamic finance that I have just now got the notification during the event that our country, which was predicted by foreign experts to be bankrupted soon, has been declared positive,” the federal minister said.
He said that he was pleased that efforts were swiftly expediting towards the center of excellence, a body which would extensively work on promotion of Islamic finance through rigorous researches by first producing a group of such people through courses and trainings who could lead the sector parallel to the conventional banking. The huge potential of the Islamic finance sector still needed exploration in the country.
“Steering committee on promotion of Islamic finance was established a year ago under the chairmanship of Deputy Governor SBP Saeed Ahmed which would finalise the proposals submitted by leading academic institutes of Pakistan including IBA Karachi, Lums, IBP, Allama Iqbal University, Comsat Islamabad and International Islamic University Islamabad,” he said.
He said we would make Pakistan a prominent country among others in Islamic finance. “I have broad hope in welfare of people through Islamic finance.”
The steering committee on promotion of Islamic finance would evaluate the proposals in April 2015 for a month.
Shariah Advisor Summit Bank Limited Mufti Mohammad Najeeb Khan said the establishment of Pakistan was based on Islamic ideology. It was heartening to see that the present government had shown keen interest to promote Islamic finance. He ensured rigorous support from scholars in this regard.
Governor SBP Ashraf Mahmood Wathra said Islamic finance had witnessed tremendous growth globally for the past four decades and it has significantly increased in Pakistan since 2002.
“22 Islamic banks are working with over 1500 branches throughout the country. Future outlook of Islamic banking looks quite positive. The difference of 20%-80% between Islamic and conventional banking would be brought to 50%-50% ration,” he said.
He said research programs, trainings and conferences would be held locally and internationally under the center. This would not only alleviate the poverty in the country but also boost economy.
Saeed Ahmed said the Islamic banking was facing such a shortage of scholars that a few scholars were only working in 22 banks, while according to the standard each bank should have atleast three scholars/ experts: Shariah Chairman, Resident Shariah Advisor and Independent Advisor.
“In fact every bank should have an independent board. We have a great demand of researchers, experts and scholars for which the center would prove to be fruitful,” he said.
CEOs and representatives of all the banks, many scholars and experts were also present on the occasion.