Promoting interest-free banking a priority: Dar

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar on Thursday reiterated the government’s firm resolve to introduce Shariah-compliant interest-free banking and finance system in the country to achieve sustainable economic growth and social prosperity.

Addressing the National Islamic Forum, he said that the subject of Islamic finance was very close to his heart and he was making all-out efforts to implement Shariah-compliant banking and economic system, besides ending the interest-based financial system.

He said that he had initiated work in this regard during the last tenure of PML-N and had constituted a committee headed by the Deputy Governor State Bank of Pakistan while several measures were taken to promote the Shariah-compliant Islamic finance and banking system.

He said that a committee was also formed and a special wing was also established in the Ministry of Finance, besides providing tax incentives to the Shariah-compliant companies, which was aimed to encourage and promote Shariah-compliant financial tools, adding that these efforts brought vast dividends in a short time.

The minister said that due to these efforts, there was only one bank that was offering Shariah-compliant financing instruments and was operating with its 100 branches, which now reached to about 1,000 branches.

He said, another bank has also made major progress during the last year and its balance sheet registered remarkable growth.

Ishaq Dar said that the achievements made during the short-time frame was reflecting that significant progress could be made with more coordinated and sincere efforts to implement the orders of the Federal Shariat Court regarding the implementation of an interest-free economic system in the country.

He said before his arrival, the State Bank of Pakistan and the National Bank had challenged the decision of the Federal Shariat Court, however, added when he arrived it was decided not to challenge the verdict. He said efforts would be made to implement an interest-free economic and finance system.

He lauded the efforts for organizing the event and said that it would help prepare a strategy for policy formulation as it gathered experts from finance, banking, businesses and experts of Islamic finance and banking for suggesting measures to promote an interest-free economic system.

Bad governance and miss management of the last government damaged the country’s economy, which was emerging as a growing economy back in 2016-17 with the lowest inflation ratio and highest foreign exchange reserves, while GDP growth was at 6.1 percent. Due to experiments of the last five years coupled with miss management and bad governance, the economy ranking among the top 20 growing economies reached the 47th position with the highest inflation ratio, he added. (APP)