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Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Bankers asked to introduce Islamic banking in rural areas

KARACHI, SEPT 11 (APP) - Chairman Senate Mohammadmian Soomro on Tuesday asked bankers to introduce Islamic banking in rural areas to cater to the needs of agriculture sector. He was speaking at the inauguration of Asian Finance Conference - Islamic Financial Services” at a local hotel. Stressing upon the needs for collaboration between the banks and farmers associations, he said that this will benefit both the vital segments of the economy. Soomro noted that Islamic banking was progressing fast and called upon bankers to further create awareness among the people about Shariah compliant products. He said that Islamic banking was not only providing conventional services like other commercial banks, they were also competing with the conventional banking. “Islamic banking has made a phenomenal growth in a very short period. People attached to Islamic banking must now focus on rural financing with particular emphasis on agriculture credit to farmers”, he noted. Chairman suggested Islamic bankers to form farmers associations and market Shariah compliant products with their help. He also advised Islamic finance banks to extend loans for education and vocational training for promoting education and skills in the country. Soomro observed that Islamic banking was completely riba-free. This should be told to people, he added. Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr Shamshad Akhtar said Islamic banking was growing very fast globally and more than 60 countries around the world are being benefitted from Islamic mode of financing. She noted that Islamic banking has provided a standard to international financing system which ensures equality and social welfare. In Pakistan, she said, the share of Islamic banking in total banking was only 3.4 percent and this should be expanded to 40 to 50 percent. Dr Shamshad underlined the need for taking Islamic banking to rural areas and focus on SMEs and agriculture financing. There is also a need for emulating international banking standards in the Islamic banking, she added while dilating upon the present, past and future of riba-free banking. The director finance Dawn and deputy CEO Dubai Islamic Bank M A Mannan also spoke on the occasion.
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