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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Pakistan: Campaign for promotion of Islamic finance

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - Karachi—The Deputy Governor, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Kazi Abdul Muktadir has said that a comprehensive media campaign for promoting inherent strengths of Islamic finance and clearing common apprehensions, confusions and misconceptions about Islamic banking and finance is being launched shortly. ‘This campaign is to be led by the Islamic banking industry with the support of SBP’, he added.

In his opening remarks while chairing a meeting for initiating the media awareness campaign to promote Islamic banking in Pakistan at SBP, Karachi today, he said that preliminary findings of SBP comprehensive country-wide survey on “Knowledge, Attitude & Practices of Islamic Bankingin Pakistan” suggest the dire need for initiating mass awareness campaign to increase public trust and confidence in Islamic banking.

SBP Deputy Governor said that since 2001, the Islamic banking industry has been able to maintain strong momentum with annual growth rate of above 30 percent, a network of 1100branches in 79 districts across the country, and market share of approximately 10 percent.

He observed that despite this growth, the industry is still facing many issues and challenges which, among others, include limited human resource capacity and low awareness and understanding of public at large about Islamic banking and its distinction over conventional banking. ‘The low awareness and understanding has been a major reason for misperceptions and confusions about the need, utility and Shariah permissibility of Islamic finance’, he added.

Abdul Muktadir set up a 7-member Steering Committee for launching the media awareness campaign. Headed by Mr. Irfan Siddiqui, President, Meezan Bank, the Committee members include Mr. Hasan Bilgrami, President Bank Islami Pakistan, Mr. Junaid Ahmad, President Dubai Islamic Bank, Mr. Mohsin Ali Nathani, President Standard Chartered Bank, Mr. Nauman K. Dar, President Habib Bank, Mr. Atif Bajwa, President Bank Alflah, and Mr. Saleem Ullah, DirectorIslamic Banking Department, SBP. ‘The Committee may constitute one or more sub-committees to undertake and execute various components of the media campaign,’ he added.

He said the State Bank and Islamic Banking Institutions (IBIs) have taken several initiatives to enhance the public awareness about Islamic Banking and Finance by holding seminars,conferences etc., but no significant effort has so far been made to create mass awareness using electronic and print media. ‘

SBP Deputy Governor expressed his confidence that this initiative will be instrumental in significant improvement in awareness about Islamic banking and lead to further acceleration in the growth of Islamic banking.

(Pakistan Observer / 13 Feb 2013)

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