Russia’s first Islamic bank to open in March 2016

Russia’s first Islamic bank to open in March

February 12, 2016 ALEX SNEGOV, RBTH
http://rbth.com/business/2016/02/12/russias-first-islamic-bank-to-be-opened-in-march_567093

The new lender will operate in the city of Kazan and deal with foreign investments.

The city of Kazan, which is sometimes referred to as the Muslim capital of Russia, is to host the country’s first bank working in accordance with the principles of Sharia.

The bank, called The Partnership Banking Center, will start operations in March 2016 in the city, located 500 miles east of Moscow in Russia’s Tatarstan republic.

According to a representative of Tatfondbank, a Tatarstan-based institution that is one of the founders of the new project, the bank is being established using common practices prevalent in Southeast Asia and in the Middle East.

Why some Russian women embraced Islam
The bank will focus on working both with individuals and companies, and will aim to channel Islamic investment into Russia.

The Partnership Banking Center will also sign an agreement with the Islamic Development Bank.

The creation of the first Islamic bank became possible thanks to a new law submitted to the State Duma in late January, under which banks would be allowed to set up accounts whose funds could be invested only in line with an investment declaration, thus adapting the Russian banking system to the requirements of religious financial institutions.

Agamawan

Dilema Segelintir Agamawan

Agamawan sering menyeru ke arah perpaduan tetapi merekalah antara selalu menjadi punca perpecahan,
Agamawan selalu menyeru kepada perubahan tetapi mereka lah antara yang paling anti-pembaharuan,
Agamawan sering mengingatkan agar menjaga amanah tetapi merekalah antara yang sering khianah,
Agamawan sering mengingatkan supaya mengingati akhirat tetapi merekalah antara yang paling mengasihi dunia,
Agamawan sering mengingatkan membaca surah al Asr tetapi merekalah antara yang paling tidak menepati masa,
Agamawan sering menyeru agar berbicara perkara besar tetapi merekalah antara yang paling suka berbicara soal furu’,
Agamawan sering menyeru agar berjiwa besar tetapi merekalah antara yang sering tidak berlapang dada,
Agamawan sering menyeru ke arah perdamaian tetapi merekalah antara yang suka mencetuskan perbalahan,
Agamawan sering menasihatkan supaya berakhlak terpuji tetapi mereka lah antara yang buruk akhlaknya,
Agamawan sering menasihatkan supaya sentiasa berkata benar tetapi merekalah antara yang paling suka berdusta.
Kita benar-benar dambakan agamawan umat bukan agamawan buat-buat.

Agamawan Umat,
Kezuhudanmu sebahagian kehidupan
Akhlakmu mencerminkan ajaran al Quran
Kata-katamu benar-benar menginsafkan
Pemikiranmu sentiasa menyegarkan
Keikhlasanmu dapat dirasakan
Tuturkatamu menjadi pedoman
Janjimu sentiasa dikotakan
Tingkahlakumu menjadi tauladan
Keilmuanmu bukan untuk kemasyhuran
Ibadahmu bukan untuk pertunjukan
Perdebatanmu membawa perdamaian
Hujahmu menyelesaikan permasalahan
Bacaanmu menjadi ikutan
Nasihatmu memberikan ketenangan
Pandanganmu sentiasa mengutamakan kebenaran,
Masamu hanya diperuntukkan untuk kebaikan,
Kehidupanmu sangat dekat dengan Tuhan,
Hanya Tuhan yang kau takutkan….

Memahami Mafsadah dan Maslahah TPPA

Memahami Maslahah dan Mafsadah TPPA

Zulkifli Hasan

Ada golongan Pro-TPPA beranggapan pihak Anti-TPPA sebagai cenderung kepada ideologi yang anti ‘free trade’. Pihak anti-TPPA juga ada yang beranggapan golongan Pro-TPPA sebagai beriman dengan ideologi perdagangan Bebas. Umumnya TPPA bukanlah benar-benar ‘free trade’ tetapi ‘managed trade’. Sememangnya TPPA ada maslahah Dan ada mafsadahnya. Oleh kerana TPPA adalah free trade yang bersifat ‘managed trade’ maka perasaan bimbang dengan mafsadah berbanding maslahah begitu ketara.

Dengan begitu banyak kajian dan laporan termasuk ‘impact assessment’ menambahkan lagi kebimbangan. Laporan dan kajian yang pro-TPPA pula hanya bersifat ekslusif cenderung kepada satu dimensi iaitu dari aspek ‘trade’ sedangkan impak TPPA adalah ‘beyond trade’. TPPA perlu dilihat dari sudut yang lebih luas termasuk hak asasi, budaya, sosial, politik, agama dan lain-lain. Menghadiri diskusi dan dialog dengan pelbagai ngo, kerajaan, dan pakar termasuk meneliti pandangan sarjana ekonomi dunia seperti Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman dan Jomo Sundram mengiyakan bahawa mafsadah TPPA bukan spekulasi tetapi ‘real’.
Kes-kes ISDS sebelum ini majoritinya membuktikan bahawa negara akan terdedah dengan ‘liabilities’ yang bakal memberi mafsadah yang lebih besar. Dengan kelemahan dan kecelaruan pentadbiran negara ditambah dengan pelbagai isu integriti menimbulkan persoalan kemampuan untuk mendepani cabaran TPPA.

Peristiwa gelap tergadainya Pulau Batu Putih menambahkan lagi kebimbangan ini apabila negara bukan lagi berdepan dengan Singapura tetapi Amerika Syarikat dan gergasi korporat yang saiz ‘market capitalization’nya adalah lebih besar daripada kemampuan sebuah negara. Dengan kemampuan dan kualiti segelintir menteri-menteri yang kadangkala melucukan dalam masa yang sama memualkan meningkatkan lagi kerisauan ini. Apa yang lebih merisaukan ialah gejala rasuah dan bodek tahap dewa yang semakin membarah boleh sahaja menambahkan ancaman kepada negara.

Kesemua ini seharusnya diambil kira oleh rakyat Malaysia khususnya kepada ahli parlimen yang bakal menentukan nasib dan masa depan negara. Fikirkanlah secara berhikmah masa depan generasi akan datang. Telitilah setiap aspek kesan maslahah dan mafsadah TPPA kepada semua. Mungkin kali ini sahaja rakyat masih menaruh harapan pada pemimpinnya walaupun sering kali diperdaya dan dicapati segala janji-janjinya.

Menjaga Imej Islam Sebahagian Daripada Maqasid Shariah

Menjaga Imej Islam Sebahagian Daripada Maqasid Shariah

Zulkifli Hasan

Merenung situasi politik di Malaysia di mana Pemimpin bermasalah kini sentiasa cuba dilihat lebih Islamik selalu kelihatan bersama ulama di majlis-majlis maulid dan sebagainya menimbulkan beberapa persoalan. Sehinggakan menimbulkan gambaran kepada umum bahawa ada agamawan yang redha akan keadaan ini. Lebih merumitkan keadaan apabila Islam itu seakan digambarkan sebagai agama yang berkompromi dengan kebatilan atau dilihat sebagai alat untuk pemimpin bermasalah berlindung dan mendapat ‘legitimacy’ sokongan Umum.

Ini mengingatkan kepada ungkapan Sheikh Abdullah Ben Bayyah
من مقاصد الشريعة تحسين صورة الإسلام
“Sebahagian maqasid syariah adalah menjaga kecantikan imej Islam”.

Prinsip menjaga imej Islam ini adalah sebahagian daripada tuntutan maqasid Syariah. Oleh itu, adalah menjadi satu persoalan yang sangat signifikan untuk kita renungi apabila membenarkan pemimpin bermasalah untuk berselindung disebalik simbol agama. Ini bukan sahaja menimbulkan persepsi buruk pada agamawan disekelilingnya malahan memburukkan imej Islam itu sendiri. Kebatilan yang jelas juga seakan didiamkan sehinggakan ada juga cuba untuk menjustifikasikannya atas nama ketuanan Melayu atau memelihara status agama persekutuan. Ini semua sama sekali tidak menepati maqasid menjaga dan memelihara imej Islam kerana ia akan memburukkan lagi persepsi umum kepada Islam.

Jika kita begitu marah dengan ISIS yang tidak mewakili Islam dan memburukkan imej Islam, kita juga perlu bangkit untuk menegur dan mencegah mana-mana pemimpin bermasalah yang mencemarkan imej Islam itu sendiri. Kebatilan yang jelas seperti rasuah dan guna kuasa termasuk penipuan dan mungkir janji sama sekali tidak boleh dikompromi. Sebarang usaha untuk menjustifikasikannya atas nama Islam dan bangsa bukan satu perkara yang boleh diterima bahkan dianggap sebagai satu pengkhianatan kepada amanah ilmu.

Islam itu agama yang membawa rahmat ke sekalian alam. Namun, hari ini kita boleh lihat Islam itu tidak digambarkan sebagai sesuatu yang rahmat. Fenomena bisu dengan kebatilan yang jelas di depan mata memburukkan lagi imej Islam itu sendiri. Mengembalikan semula imej Islam itu sebagai agama yang menjunjung kebenaran menegakkan keadilan dan mencegah kemungkaran adalah amanah untuk kita semua. Amanah dan taklif untuk menegur dan menasihat pemimpin adalah satu tuntutan akidah dan jihad. Sesungguhnya antara jihad yang paling utama adalah berkata benar di hadapan pemerintah yang zalim.

Jury Out on Jokowi Committee as Indonesia Islamic Finance Stalls

Jury Out on Jokowi Committee as Indonesia Islamic Finance Stalls

Available at: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=newssearch&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwik19Pb7qPKAhUKG44KHUxMCgsQqQIIHCgAMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bloomberg.com%2Fnews%2Farticles%2F2016-01-11%2Fjury-out-on-jokowi-committee-as-indonesia-islamic-finance-stalls&usg=AFQjCNE5ABxIRrSZIb5_qizCmrT76pZR0Q&sig2=7yaUvTQc2rA40Pwc8QhDZQ

The jury is out on whether a group helmed by President Joko Widodo can revive stalled growth in Indonesia’s Islamic finance industry.

The head of the world’s biggest Muslim population is chairing a new committee tasked with bringing fragmented regulations under one roof and taking action to spur the market, according to the Cabinet Secretariat. Shariah-compliant banking assets increased less than 1 percent in the first 10 months of 2015, compared with 6.8 percent overall.
“The fact that it’s being led by Jokowi demonstrates the seriousness,” said Raj Mohamad, managing director at Singapore-based consultancy Five Pillars Pte. “But as they say, the devil is in the details, as we have yet to see the blueprint.”
Indonesia’s ambition to rival Malaysia as a regional hub for finance catering to Muslims is being hindered by a lack of progress in scrapping double taxation on sukuk and a delay in creating an Islamic megabank. The success of the new oversight body may test Jokowi’s credentials after he faced opposition in parliament over reforms since taking office in 2014.

Financial products governed by religious tenets currently have to comply with the regulations of Bank Indonesia, the Financial Services Authority and the National Ulema Council of Shariah scholars. The heads of those institutions will also be part of the new committee, which will be charged with encouraging development, improving endowment mechanisms and raising public awareness, National Planning Minister Sofyan Djalil told reporters in Jakarta on Jan. 5.

Indonesia’s Islamic finance industry is slowing even after a five-year blueprint was unveiled in 2014 to strengthen the capital base of banks, improve the management of funds used for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and increase the number of experts.
Assets rose 0.4 percent through October to 273 trillion rupiah ($19.7 billion), after increasing 12 percent in 2014, 24 percent in 2013 and 34 percent in 2012, data from the Financial Services Regulator show. That’s a far cry from Malaysia’s 672.6 billion ringgit ($152 billion).
“Islamic finance in Indonesia is still far short of the potential,” minister Djalil said. “What we need is synergy among the participants.”

The Southeast Asian nation is also susceptible to a global slowdown just like any other regional economy, making it more imperative that Indonesia boosts its Shariah-compliant industry. More than five years after the central bank asked the tax department to look into the issue of double taxation on sukuk, companies interested in selling such debt are still in limbo and offerings have to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
A plan to create an Islamic megabank by merging the Shariah units of PT Bank Mandiri, PT Bank Negara Indonesia, PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia and PT Bank Tabungan Negara has also been pushed back, with various officials touting different target dates to achieve it.

Financial Services Authority Director Dhani Gunawan Idat said last month that such an entity will be established in 2017.
“There are many areas that the committee will need to consider and attempt to address,” said Suhaimi Zainul-Abidin, a founding member of the Gulf Asia Shari’ah Compliant Investments Association in Singapore. “With President Jokowi chairing the committee and given the membership composition, it should be much easier for the different stakeholders to reach a consensus of what needs to be done, and to thereafter activate the appropriate levers to make things happen.”

RBI panel recommendations hint at reviving Islamic Banking in India?

RBI panel recommendations hint at reviving Islamic Banking?

Available at: http://zeenews.india.com/business/news/finance/rbi-panel-recommendations-hint-at-reviving-islamic-banking_1839389.html

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) panel, that banks open a “separate window offering interest-free deposits and advances to address financial exclusion based on faith”, a Times of India report has said.

RBI’s recommendations brings up the concept of Islamic banking, the TOI report has further said.

The “Report of the Committee on Medium-term Path on Financial Inclusion” headed by Deepak Mohanty was placed on Monday.

It said, commercial banks may be enabled to open specialised interest-free windows with simple products like demand deposits, agency and participation certificates on the liability side and cost-plus financing and deferred payment, deferred delivery contracts on the asset side.

Here are the salient recommendations of the RBI panel.

Banks have to make special efforts to step up account opening for females, and the Government may consider a deposit scheme for the girl child – Sukanya Shiksha – as a welfare measure.
Given the predominance of individual account holdings (94 per cent of total credit accounts), a unique biometric identifier such as Aadhaar should be linked to each individual credit account and the information shared with credit information companies to enhance the stability of the credit system and improve access.
To improve ‘last mile’ service delivery and to translate financial access into enhanced convenience and usage, a low-cost solution should be developed by utilisation of the mobile banking facility for maximum possible G2P payments.
In order to increase formal credit supply to all agrarian segments, digitisation of land records is the way forward. This should be backed by an Aadhaar-linked mechanism for Credit Eligibility Certificates to facilitate credit flow to actual cultivators.
To phase out the agricultural interest subvention scheme which has distorted the agricultural credit system and ploughing the subsidy amount into an affordable technology aided universal crop insurance scheme for marginal and small farmers for all crops with a monetary ceiling of Rs.200,000 at a nominal premium to end agrarian distress.
A scheme of ‘Gold KCC’ (kisan credit card) with higher flexibility for borrowers with prompt repayment records, which could be dovetailed with a government-sponsored personal insurance, and digitisation of KCC to track expenditure pattern.
Encourage multiple guarantee agencies to provide credit guarantees in niche areas for micro and small enterprises (MSEs), and explore possibilities for counter guarantee and re-insurance.
Introduction of a system of unique identification for all MSME borrowers and sharing of such information with credit bureaus.
Establishing a system of professional credit intermediaries/advisors for MSMEs to help both the sector banks in credit assessment.
To further step up financing of the MSE Sector a framework for movable collateral registry may be introduced.
Commercial banks may be enabled to open specialised interest-free windows with simple products like demand deposits, agency and participation certificates on the liability side and cost-plus financing and deferred payment, deferred delivery contracts on the asset side.
An eco-system comprising multiple models should be encouraged with will foster partnerships amongst national full-service banks, regional banks of various types, NBFCs, semi-formal financial institutions, as well as the newly-licensed payments banks and small finance banks.
Banks’ business model to integrate Business Correspondents (BCs) with appropriate monitoring by designated link branches and greater mix of fixed location BC outlets to win the confidence of the common person.
Introduction of a system of online registration of BCs, their training and monitoring their activity including delinquency, and entrusting more complex financial products such as credit to trained BCs with good track record.
A geographical information system (GIS) to map all banking access points.
To step up the self help group (SHG)-bank linkage programme (SBLP) initiated by NABARD with the help of concerned stakeholders including government agencies as a livelihood model.
Corporates should be encouraged to nurture SHGs as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
Provision of credit history of all SHG members by linking with individual Aadhaar numbers to check over-indebtedness
To restore tax-exempt status for securitisation vehicles for efficient risk transfer.
More ATMs in rural and semi-urban centres, interoperability of micro ATMs and use of application-based mobiles as point- of- sale (PoS) for creating more touch points for customers.
National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to develop a multi-lingual mobile application for customers who use non-smart phones, especially for users of national unified USSD platform (NUUP).
Permit a small-value cash-out with adequate KYC along for non-bank prepaid payment instruments (PPIs) to incentivise usage.
To allow PPI interoperability for non-banks.
Levying a surcharge on credit card transactions by merchant establishments should not be allowed.
Banks to complete the task of linking of deposit accounts with Aadhaar in a time bound manner so as to create the necessary eco-system for social cash transfer.
Financial Literacy Centre (FLC) network to be strengthened to deliver basic financial literacy at the ground level. Banks to identify lead literacy officers to be trained by the Reserve Bank in its College of Agricultural Banking (CAB) who in turn could train the people manning the FLCs.
The Reserve Bank to commission periodic dipstick surveys across states to ascertain the extent of financial literacy.
All regulated entities should be required to put in place a technology-based platform for SMS acknowledgement and disposal of customer complaints.
To strengthen the Information Monitoring System for District Consultative Committees (DCC) and State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC) deliberations.
The responsibility of the SLBC/lead bank scheme to be rotated among to instil a spirit of competition.
SLBCs to focus more on inter-institutional issues, livelihood models, social cash transfer, gender inclusion, Aadhaar seeding, universal account opening, and less on credit deposit ratio which is a by-product.
As a part of second generation reforms, the government can replace the current agricultural input subsidies on fertilisers, power and irrigation by a direct income transfer scheme.

9 economists whose ideas are changing the world

9 economists whose ideas are changing the world
By Ben Moshinsky

Available at: https://agenda.weforum.org/2015/08/9-economists-whose-ideas-are-changing-the-world/

We’re living in the age of the rock star academic.

Everyone is trying to make sense of financial crises and the old economics textbooks don’t work so well anymore.

So it’s natural to turn to the people who study this stuff for a living.

Thomas Piketty, a French academic, sold 1.5 million copies of his book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” while Nobel prize-winning economists like Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz can be found burning up social media, the newspapers, and the conference circuit.

But not everyone with influential ideas on economics and finance is as well-known.

Here are the academics that are changing the world behind-the-scenes. The list isn’t exhaustive. If you think we’ve missed anyone out then please email in suggestions.

1: Ha-Joon Chang, University of Cambridge

Alma Mater: Seoul National University

Big Idea: Developed countries talk a lot about the free market but really use their power and financial strength to profit at the expense of emerging economies.

Chang’s ideas are controversial, centering on the role that international bodies like the IMF and World Bank play in the world economy.

In books such as Kicking Away the Ladder and The Myth of Free Trade he argues that the governments of bigger economies help out their own companies, while preaching the benefits of the free market to developing nations.

2: Katherina Pistor, Columbia Law School

Alma Mater: University of Freiburg

Big Idea: The rule of law must be suspended for financial markets in a crisis, or the whole system will collapse.

Pistor, who won the Max Planck academic research award in 2012, is developing a legal theory of finance to work out how laws affect its shape and composition.

She discovered that, in a crisis, the regulations that build markets aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Political power is the driving force behind who gets hit in the heat of the moment.

3: Charles Calomiris, Columbia Business School

Alma Mater: Yale University

Big Idea: Financial collapses don’t happen at random and aren’t inevitable.

They come from complex bargains between politicians and bankers that spiral out of the government’s control. That’s one of the reasons why the US has had 12 major banking crises since 1840, while Canada has had none.

4: Jon Danielsson, London School of Economics

Alma Mater: Duke University

Big Idea: Trusting your risk models will lose you money in a crisis.

Risk models will generally tend to have the same outcomes when everything is going well, even if they have different mathematical foundations.

This tricks people in to thinking that they work all the time. But when all hell breaks loose, the models will give you wildly different risk assesments, leaving you flying blind.

This is bad for banks and hedge funds but even worse for central banks, who have to make policy decisions for everyone else.

5: Marianne Bertrand, University of Chicago Booth

Alma Mater: University of Brussels

Big Idea: CEOs are rewarded for luck rather than performance. Also, employers judge applicants on their name as much as their qualifications.

Bertrand is one the reasons why there’s been such a shareholder backlash against CEO pay, after proving their huge bonuses are based on luck rather than genius.

In a 2003 paper, she and Sendhil Mullainathan also famously replied to help-wanted ads in Chicago and Boston with fake names. Some applicants used names like Emily and Greg, while others used names like Lakisha and Jamal.

“The results show significant discrimination against African-American names,” the authors wrote. “White names receive 50% more callbacks for interviews.”

6: Alvin Roth, Harvard University and Stanford University

Alma Mater: Columbia University

Big Idea: You don’t need money to make a stable market for something.

Roth, along with Lloyd Shapely, won the Nobel Prize in 2012 for showing that people can make a market based on mutually-beneficial swaps rather than cash to satisfy a specific need.

This was particularly useful for easing the shortage of kidney donors in the US. Roth used game theory to pair up donors with patients they didn’t know, making it easier for people to swap their organs and find a match.

7: Richard Portes, London Business School

Alma Mater: Yale University

Big Idea: Bondholders can often work together to get concessions from a borrower.

Portes, now professor of economics at London Business School, laid down the groundwork for collective action clauses, where sovereign bondholders use their bargaining power to impose conditions on a debtor country. The work has been especially important in cases like Greece or Argentina.

8: Charles Goodhart, London School of Economics

Alma Mater: Cambridge University

Big Idea: Goodhart’s Law.

Goodhart said that as soon as governments or central banks turn a statistic, such as the stock market, into an implicit policy target, it ceases to become a reliable statistic.

This is because players in financial markets change their investment strategies to pre-empt the policy.

Goodhart was one of the orignal members of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee in 1997, and a veteran of financial crises in 1970s.

9: Alberto Alesina, Harvard University

Alma Mater: Bocconi Univerisity, Milan

Big Idea: Far from hurting growth, austerity measures can actually help economies recover.

In 2009, Alesina and Silvia Ardegna published a paper called Large Changes in Fiscal Policy: Taxes Versus Spending.

It was an important part of the debate in the years that followed over whether austerity and reducing debt or boosting government spending were the best strategies for economies recovering, cited by fiscal hawks.

This article is published in collaboration with Business Insider. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.

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Author: Ben Moshinsky is a senior finance reporter, covering markets and banks. He previously worked for Bloomberg News in Brussels and London.