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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Sukuk suitable tool for governments to finance projects says KFH's CEO

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) CEO Mohammed Al-Omar stated that that the Fatwa and Shariah Supervisory Authority has embodied the moral and social responsibility towards the society as a unit that operates in harmony to protect the client by ensuring that all banking transactions are Shariah compliant. The authority has played a pivotal role in developing numerous products that caused a paradigm shift in the in the history of Islamic banking. He appealed to governments to resort to Sukuk, since Sukuk have greatly succeeded in financing many projects, which made Sukuk highly demanded by worldwide.

Al-Omar added in a paper that he presented during the Islamic Financial Institutions Forum in Beirut, that Sukuk are considered to be the Shariah compliant alternative for bonds, were not granted an opportunity to highlight its role as a suitable financing tool, despite the advantages that Sukuk have, such as creating assets that have a specific value, which makes the financing process based on real tangible assets, in addition to the fact that it does not burden governments and companies. He stressed that Islamic banks work on taking advantage of resources, and mentioned that Islamic banks have become an important sector in the global economy and abides by the requirements and regulations that others follow, but still maintaining its different work nature. He also stressed the importance of developing Basel standards 2 and 3, reinforcing risks management departments at banks and Islamic financial institutions, and boosting the performance of studies sections.

Al-Omar elaborated in his work paper about Islamic banks by saying that they are about to overcome the negative impact of the financial crisis, but still requiring the governmental support that has become an essential matter. He said that the crisis has resulted in the restructuring of the international financial infrastructure, the theories that govern growth, and the assumption of governmental expenditure.

The importance of Islamic banks lie in its ability to offer investment companies solutions to regain their ability to grow, in addition to their ability to expand their gigantic regional investment circle, where Islamic banks depend on real investments and they always seek to take part in the efforts of restoring faith in the market, in addition to developing financial tools that depend on using governmental and banking financing, and amending Sukuk legislations to provide more sources of support and financing.

Concerning the social responsibility role, he stated that KFH believes in the role of money in developing the society, assisting in the government's development projects, and catering to various society segments. He mentioned that the major fields of social responsibility, which include youth, health, education, and people with special needs, in addition to caring for those in need and supporting charitable and social events, such as establishing an addiction treatment medical center, 15 emergency medical centers, taking part in an international awareness campaign about diabetes, and a center that occupies 7000 square meters for people with special needs, and supporting governmental schools by equipping them with educational electronic devices.

Moreover, KFH developed Al-Kheir banking card, where KFH donates part of its returns to send the poor to Haj and Umrah, where 5 pilgrims were sent to Haj in collaboration with the Ministry of Awqaf since launching the card last year.

Furthermore, KFH has been committed to the traditions and values of the society, which prompted it to establish branches for its female clients, which resulted in the formation of KFH female staff that are capable of assisting female clients to manage their wealth.

In addition to that, KFH managed to finance houses for 30,000 Kuwaiti families over a period of 15 years. The project cost USD 4 billion. 


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