PESHAWAR - Financial experts and researchers at international conference on Islamic financing have emphasised the need for framing a holistic vision for inclusive growth and promotion of Islamic mode of financing essentially with focus on poverty alleviation, access to loans to small growers, and reducing income inequalities.
“The prevalent Islamic finance system is far away from getting its major characteristics, mainly relating to poverty reduction, agriculture, agri-business, small and medium enterprises, low-cost housing, rather its emphasis on deposits and assets growth, compared to conventional banking system, said Dr Ishrat Hussain, Dean Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi and former governor State Bank of Pakistan, while addressing as chief guest at opening session of two-day international conference here at a local hotel on Wednesday.
The two-day international moot titled “Towards Financial Inclusion: Developments in Islamic Economics, Banking and Finance”, held under the auspices of Centre for Excellence in Islamic Finance (CEIF), IMSciences, in collaboration with the State Bank of Pakistan, and the UK Department for International Development (UK-DFID), aimed at promoting academic, research, and best industry practices of Islamic finance as joint venture with commercial banks, regulators, universities, Islamic financial resources centers across the country, and around the globe with overall objective of financial inclusion of society.
Besides, Group Head of the Bank of Khyber, Atif Hanif, Pak-Qatar Bank Regional Head Tariq Choudhry, Bank Islami Regional Head, Fazal Haq, Al-Baraka Bank Head North Region, Kaleem Iqbal, Meezan Bank Senior Vice President Farman ul Haq Usmani, a large number of financial experts, representatives of financial institutions, regulators, stakeholders, and students attended the conference.
On the occasion, Dr Ishrat said that Islamic finance grew by 12 per cent during last over a decade, which is unsatisfactory towards, gaining main features of the system. He said around 23 per cent people don’t have access to formal banking system that increases income inequalities across the country.
The experts said that around 80 per cent people don’t have access to banking accounts, while money was covered from few capitals and feudal lords in the country.
Dr. Mehboob ul Hasan, Prof at the King Saud University, Saudi Arabia said that it was dire need of the hour to devise a vision and should develop system parallel to conventional banking system. He talked about the financial, legal and social, integration and elimination unjust in both conventional and Islamic banking system.
“There is lack of professionals at Islamic banking sector as most of their staffs are trained in conventional banking system, Dr Ishrat said and stressed the need of professionals at both Sharia and Islamic banking system. Despite the global economic turndown during 2007-08, he viewed that no adverse impacts were seen on Islamic banking system.
Though, he said, the State Bank of Pakistan and Ministry of Finance and relevant institutions were committed to promote Islamic banking system. “We cannot gain the desired objectives through Islamic finance, until and unless to ensure access to finance available to all segment of the society, he underlined, and urged the need for ensuring income equality to reduce poverty which had been completely neglected in the Islamic finance system.
In his welcome address, Dr. Mohsin Khan, Director, IMSciences highlighted the aims and objectives of the CEIF, and said that they were working on a vision for self-sustained the Centre of Excellence for Islamic Finance, recognized nationally and internationally, for the contribution and dissemination of deeper understanding of Islamic Finance and its practices and enhancement of financial inclusion within society.