Ishaq Dar attends High Level Global Conference on Islamic Finance in Kuwait

Kuwait, November 11, 2015 (PPI-OT): The Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar attended the High Level Global Conference on Islamic Finance this morning in Kuwait. The Minister participated in a panel discussion along with Mr. Anas Al Saleh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Kuwait, Dr. Fahad Abdullah Al-Mubarak, Governor Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), Dr. Erdem Basci, Governor Central Bank of Turkey, Dr. Ahmad Mohammad Ali Al-Madani, President Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and Mr. Masood Ahmad Director Middle East and Central Asia Department of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Addressing the participants the Minister said” Many developing and Muslim majority countries are faced with the challenge of low financial access with significant proportion of their population remaining unbanked due to voluntary and involuntary reasons. Specifically in Muslim majority countries, it is highly likely that a significant proportion of their population may be self excluded due to limited supply of Shariah compliant financial products and services. Therefore, promotion of Islamic financial services can play an important role in minimizing the incidence of both voluntary and involuntary financial exclusion by catering to the unserved segments”.

He also said that there is a huge potential for Islamic Microfinance throughout the Muslim world. Referring to Global Islamic Finance Report 2012, he said that there exists a strong inclination of microfinance clients (approximately 40 percent) in Muslim jurisdictions for Islamic microfinance.

He further elaborated that Pakistan is using multipronged strategies to enhance financial inclusion. We have been able to achieve significant milestones including the creation of a regulatory framework for Microfinance Banks (2001); expansion and modernization of online credit information bureau (e-CIB, 2005); establishment of the Pakistan Interbank Settlement System (PRISM) (2008), the development of inter-operable inter-bank card payments platforms; the adoption of Branchless Banking Regulations (2008, amended in 2011); establishment of a specialized microfinance credit information bureau (MF-CIB, 2011); launch of a nationwide Financial Literacy Program (2012); development of Inclusion, Stability, Integrity, and Protection (I-SIP) methodology in policy making (2014) and a number of credit enhancement facilities aimed at encouraging financing to the unserved/underserved sectors.

The Minister also said that Pakistan was ranked in the top-ten internationally for its enabling environment for financial inclusion in the most recent Global Microscope 2014 report published by the Economist London. In his concluding remarks the Minister said the availability of skilled and well trained human resource is also a must for the development of the Islamic Finance.

Collaborative efforts are needed between countries with developed Islamic finance systems and those which are in the initial phase of introducing these systems. On our part, we are ready and willing to share the expertise that we have developed in this field over the years. The Finance Minister later joined Kuwaiti Minister for Finance over lunch along with Managing Director IMF Christine Lagarde and other senior participants.”

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