Indonesia eyes Islamic T-bills, retail sukuk in 2010

Indonesia may issue Islamic treasury bills and retail sukuk this year to diversify funding sources, develop the Islamic debt market and finance the state budget deficit, finance ministry officials said on Monday.

The ministry also said it expected to issue conventional bonds for retail investors in July or August, with maturities of up to five years.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, has been relatively slow to develop its Islamic markets, lagging Malaysia and Singapore. It stepped up its efforts last year by eliminating double taxation of such sharia products, as this had hampered growth of the industry.
The finance ministry currently issues conventional treasury bills, with maturities of up to 12 months — usually at least once a month via debt auctions — while Bank Indonesia (BI), the central bank, issues treasury bills called central bank certificates (SBIs) with a maximum maturity of six months.
“We are still in talks with BI including on the maturity” of the Islamic T-bills, Dahlan Siamat, the finance ministry director in charge of Islamic debt, told reporters.
“If it can be issued this year, that will be good,” said Rahmat Waluyanto, the ministry’s head of debt management unit, referring to Islamic T-bills.
BID TO CONTAIN HOT MONEY FLOWS
The finance ministry’s decision to consider issuing Islamic treasury bills follows moves by the central bank to reduce the frequency of its SBI auctions as it tries to contain hot money flows, shift money into longer-dated paper and spur bank lending.
The central bank is in the process of changing its auction schedule. It will hold its SBI auctions once a fortnight, instead of once a week, until late May, and then once a month starting in June.
Central bank officials have said they expect to rely less on SBIs for monetary operations and instead use more finance ministry debt securities.
Ministry officials also said they expected to issue Islamic debt, or sukuk, for retail investors around November.
The ministry last sold sukuk to retail investors in February, raising 8 trillion rupiah ($888.3 million) in a three-year issue that yielded 8.7 percent — well above the one-year bank deposit rate of about 6.5 percent.
The finance ministry has said it plans to raise 176.2 trillion rupiah from bond issues this year, including both conventional and Islamic debt.
The proceeds would be used to finance the budget deficit, which under the approved budget is forecast at 1.6 percent of GDP this year, although under the revised budget it is forecast at 2.1 percent of GDP. ($1=9005 Rupiah)
source : guardian

Court directive to State on Islamic banking firm

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the State government and its instrumentalities to desist from participating in any way, financially or otherwise, in the business of a newly formed non-banking financial company, said to be based on Islamic laws, pending adjudication of the writ petitions challenging its formation.

The Bench of Chief Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice C.N. Ramachandran Nair passed the directive after hearing arguments on petitions filed by Al Barakh Financial Services Limited and the State government seeking to vacate an interim order.

The Bench had earlier directed the government and the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) to ensure that the newly formed company did not commence its operations until further orders from the court.

The interim order was passed on a writ petition filed by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy against the government sanction given to the KSIDC to form such a company.

The Bench clarified that the interim order did not prohibit the company from carrying on its activities, provided such things were done in conformity with the law and after obtaining all clearances.

Dr. Swamy, opposing the pleas to vacate the interim order, submitted that there was no new development that warranted the lifting of the stay. He pointed out that the Union Finance Minister stated in the Lok Sabha on December 18, 2009 and March 5, 2010 that Islamic banking activities were not feasible in the current statutory and regulatory provisions.

RBI Deputy Governor Shyamala Gopinath had gone on record that the Islamic banking proposal had not come to the RBI because it was an issue between the Centre and the State. In fact, the RBI rejected such a proposal in 2007. The government and the KSIDC stated in their counter-affidavits that the company was RBI-compliant. He contended that the government order in this regard disclosed that it was an Islamic investment company. If the company was to function as per the Shariah laws, an amendment to the Banking Regulation Act would have to be made. The setting up of such a company with co-ownership of the state was ‘antithetical’ to equal treatment of all religions.

Equity

Dr. Swamy said that as per the government order, 11 per cent of the equity would be held by the KSIDC.

Counsel for the KSIDC submitted that the corporation had not yet made any investment in the company.

The government, in a counter-affidavit, refuted the allegation that the company would function in terms of the Shariah law.

The allegations were baseless and misleading. The company would function only in accordance with the RBI Act, rules and guidelines, it said.

source : hindu

Muslim clerics launch Islamic investment advisory board, pitch for Islamic banking

New Delhi: India’s eminent Islamic clerics today pitched for introduction of Islamic banking and financial system in the country while opening to the public the Islamic Investment & Finance Board, an advisory committee headed by clerics to assist both corporations and markets as well as common people regarding Shariat-compliant investment and finance.

“Islamic Finance and Ethical investments are gradually evolving into one of the most important asset classes in the financial services industry in the world today. This is seen as an alternate to the failure of conventional financial system to achieve the higher objective of bringing economic justice. Another driving force for this phenomenon is the sheer size of the Indian Muslim population who are looking for alternate interest free financial system,” said Mufti Mohd. Yahya Qasmi, Member, Islamic Investment & Finance Board (IIFB), at the national conference titled “A Search for an Alternate Financial System” at India Islamic Cultural Centre in the National Capital today.

Building on the strong fundamentals and importance of the alternative investment & finance, Islamic Investment & Finance Board was evolved under the leadership of Maulana Mohammad Wali Rahmani, Sajjada Nasheen, Khanqah Munger and Secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said Mufti Qasmi while introducing the IIFB and opening the conference.

The primary responsibility of the board is to ensure that all the Islamic Financial products made are Shariah compliant as an alternate means. The work of IIFB will be supervisory to guide and advise the financial corporation regarding Islamic investment and finance including Islamic Banking. The board upon going through the Shariah validity of financial products presented by financial corporation would certify the financial products after a thorough examination according to the Shariah compliant criteria. The IIFB Board shall have continuous dialogue with economist, bankers and other scholars to assess the feasibility of new proposals and assisting in project development and execution of new financial products in compliance with Shariah Principles. IIFB also makes sure that the work of an organization is Compatible with Shariah rules according to the accredited and agreed legal opinions (Fatwa), Mufti Yahya said.

The IIFB comprises prominent Ulama such as Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, General Secretary of Islamic Fiqh Academy- India, Maulana Fuzail ur Rahman Hilal Usmani Panjab, Maulana Fuzlur Raheem Mujeddi Jaipur, Mufti Shoibullah Khan- Bangalore, Mufti Ahmad Nadir Al-Qasmi, Mufti Ajaz Arshad Qasmi, Mufti Riyaz Ahmad Qasmi Munger, Mufti Anwarul Haque Qasmi, Mufti Mohd Yahya Qasmi and Market Expert Imtiaz Merchant.

Addressing the gathering Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani said interest is prohibited not only in Islam but also in Christianity and Hinduism. Islamic banking system which will be free from interest will have little risk for the common people. He said that to fix benefit and dividend and to not accept the risk of loss is unnatural.

H Abdur Raqeeb, Convener, National Committee on Islamic Banking and General Secretary, Indian Centre for Islamic Finance demanded the government to allow Islamic Banking system in India as many many European countries and US have done. He said he has met RBI Deputy Governor and Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Both have given positive response. For introduction of Islamic banking in India, the present Indian banking law will have to be amended. So he urged the gathering to meet their local MPs and convince them about Islamic financial system.

Talking to TwoCircles.net on the sidelines of the program, stock market professional Tauqeer Anjum from Chennai-based stock broker ITI Financial Services Ltd. said in the last few years there has been rise in number of people who are coming to enquire about Shariat-compliant stocks. His company though does not have any such index, however provides the Muslim investors with information about Shariat-compliant shares and products where they can invest. Excerpt.

Stock market professional Tauqeer Anjum

Do you get Muslim customers/investors who want to know from you about Shariat-compliant products/shares in which they want to invest?

Yes, such people come though in limited number and they want to invest but they have no option or alternative to work, they do not have full information either.

Do you see rise in number of people who are coming to enquire about Shariat-compliant shares?

Yes, for the last five years I have found rise in the number of such people. Earlier I was with MK stock broker and now with ITI Financial Services Ltd for some years. A lot of people come to get information about shares which are not based on interest and are completely Shariat compliant. They show interest in equity shares.

Do you have any list of Shariat-compliant products and shares?

We do not have any such index, but we have information about Shariat-related shares and share this information with the investors who want.

Can you name some companies/products in which Muslims can invest without fear of getting involved in interest?

Sun Pharma, Reliance Industries, Reliance Capital, Dabur these are some stocks/companies in which we can invest.

Such programs are necessary. We in the share market seek to get information about Shariat-compliant finance. We got information about this program. And I am here to attend it.

source : two circle