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WIFF to expand Islamic finance footprints: Miftah

GOVT TO GET RID OF RIBA; URGES MUFTI TAQI USMANI

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By Commerce Reporter

KARACHI: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Miftah Ismail has said economic growth in Pakistan has reached a 10-year high of about 6 percent with inflation expected to remain in the reasonable range of five percent.

Addressing at World Islamic Finance Forum, here yesterday, Miftah stressed that accelerating the growth rate was indispensable for eradication of poverty and unemployment.

The Forum was organized by IBA Centre for Excellence in Islamic Finance (CIEF) in collation with key partners with a theme “Expanding the Footprint of Islamic Finance: Innovation, Fintech & Regulations”.

He said the government didn’t intend to impose new taxes in the upcoming financial budget and would prefer improving growth rate rather than increasing the size of the budget.

Miftah said an amount of $4 billion had been paid to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under the head of debt repayments, and added the government would make more payments of over 2 billion dollars this year. The government could take commercial loans to shore up the country’s foreign reserves, he added.

Globally acknowledged Shraiah Scholar and Chairman, Shariah Board of AAOIFI, Shaikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani said, “We made a humble beginning in Pakistan, but the point of satisfaction is that people of Pakistan origin are holding key positions in Islamic banking around the world”.

Taqi Usmani urged the government to take concrete steps to get rid of Riba from the economy in absolute terms.

The Chief Gust of the conference H.E. Shaikh Ebrahim Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Chairman AAOIFI Board of Trustees said that “It is heartening to note that Pakistan is striving hard to become another hub of Islamic finance.

It has all the basic ingredients i.e. a population of 200 million predominantly Muslims, a robust banking and finance sector, vibrant agriculture, industrial and services sectors.

Irfan Siddiqui, President, Meezan Bank requested Federal Government to set a target to acquire at least 25% of local funding through Islamic Banking as Islamic financial institutions have excess liquidity and limited avenues for investment.

He said that a dedicated desk should be established at MoF for Issuance of Sukuk headed by Additional Secretary for targeting a Sukuk issue of Rs.500 billion in the next 6 months period.

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