Speakers at two-day workshop, organised by State Bank pf Pakistan (SBP), for journalists on Islamic Banking said that recently SBP has announced five-year strategic plan for Islamic Banking Industry (IBI) aimed to provide a roadmap to the industry for the next level of development. Saeed Ahmed, Deputy Governor SBP, inaugurated the workshop on Monday and said that various conventional banks are interested to convert their operations into Sharia-based banking upon which the central bank is reviewing their requests whereas the central bank has imposed bar on Islamic banks to convert into conventional bank.
"SBP prefers Islamic banking and to promote it has been allowing new Islamic banks, conversion from conventional to Islamic banking, opening up subsidiary or Islamic Banking Division", he said. He said that SBP has stopped issuance of license for setting up conventional banks in Pakistan. "We think the present number of conventional banks are enough to cater the needs of Pakistan's economy and there is need to setup/promote Islamic banking instead of conventional", he added.
However, he said that, SBP has decided to strictly monitor the performance of the Islamic Banking industry aimed to ensure that they are operating as per Islamic Sharia. The Islamic Banks are more accountable to SBP and Sharia advisor than conventional banks, deputy governor added. He said that SBP is working on its major role to ensure the participation of every citizen in the financial system, through its Financial Inclusion Policy, and the system of Islamic Banking will prove to be a bridge to the way of success in the present scenario.
Addressing the workshop, speakers said that government is making all efforts to develop an alternate system for all segments of the banking industry. They said that a plan of Islamic products for National Saving Scheme (NSS) is also under consideration and likely to be launch soon. Presently, Islamic banks are leaders in several sectors and three leading Islamic banks have some 85 percent portfolio of housing finance.
Talking about the money market operations they said that there are two different models of interbank money market for Islamic banks which are under consideration and an improved money market system is likely to be launched in next few months, they revealed. Saleem Ullah head of Islamic Banking department SBP, Mufti Irshad Ahmed Ijaz, Shariah Advisor, Mufti Muhammad Najeeb Khan Sharia Advisor Summit Bank Limited, Mufti Khalil Ahmed Aazami, Hasan Aziz Bilgrami Chief Executive Officer BankIslami, M. Farhan- ul- Haq Usmani, Vice president Shariah Audit and Financial Advisory Meezan Bank, Muhammad Faisal head of products and business development BankIslami, Umar Siddique, spokesman (acting) SBP and Nighat Tanveer also speak on the occasion.