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Saturday, 25 August 2007

Pakistan is encouraging Shariah compliant banking in the country


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said that Pakistan is encouraging Shariah compliant banking in the country, adding Islamic Banking has tremendous potential in the Muslim World. He was taking to the delegation headed by Mr. Yousif Taqi, Chief Executive Officer of Bank Alsalam, Bahrain who called on him at the Prime Minister’s House here on Friday. The Prime Minister said that Pakistan banking sector is expanding rapidly and is a major drivers for growth while meeting the needs of low, middle and high income people as well as small and medium enterprise, large scale manufacturers, traders and all other segments of society. The regulatory regime, he said, is strong and the Central Bank is effectively performing the banking regulatory function in the country. As a results banks in Pakistan are well capitalized, growing and meeting diverse customer needs. The Prime Minister said that Record Foreign Investment of 8.4 Billion US dollars in Pakistan during the year 2006-07 clearly demonstrates the benefits of sound economic structural reforms of the government. He said government’s consistent and transparent policies and substantive structural reforms have now placed Pakistan on a solid footing and its strong fundamentals guarantee continued growth in future. Pakistan is one of the faster growing economies in Asia, and major investments have been received from European Union, USA, Far East and Middle East, he added.Shaukat Aziz said that continuity and consistency of policies has given a further boost to the economic activities in the country. Several sectors represent attractive investment opportunities including telecom, IT, financial services, engineering, agribusiness and real estate, he added. The Prime Minister, while highlighting the incentives given to the banking sector, said that all banks being encouraged to undertake asset management, financial advisory services and brokerage business so as to expand and develop this product mix. He said Pakistan is benefiting from reforms and demographic dividends. Structural reforms in many sectors including banking, capital markets and telecom have attracted investment, created jobs and provided better quality services, he added. Out of the total population of 160 million, 100 million people are below the age of 25 thus creating future economic activity and opportunity and this feature is very attractive for long term investors. The middle class is growing and poverty is declining, he added. Mr Yousif Taqi, Chief Executive Officer of Al-salam Bank expressed confidence in government’s economic policies and reforms agenda and showed interest in establishing an Islamic Bank in Pakistan. He said his bank and other stakeholders are interested to invest in Pakistan particularly in the field of energy, power generation and real estate.He said that Alsalam Bank is committed to adopt internationally recognised standards and best practices in areas include corporate governance, compliance and risk management, operating with highest levels of integrity, transparency and trust. The meeting was also attended by Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance Dr. Salman Shah and other senior officials. - (SANA, 24 Aug 07)

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