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Friday, 7 September 2012

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Islamic banking to attract foreign investments

The local Islamic banking industry which stands to benefit from increasing GDP growth, exceeding 8% in 2011, is poised to attract more investment flows from Middle East and Far Eastern countries.

"The customer base of Islamic banking has gradually increased and the industry has managed to attract sufficient interest from the

domestic market, both Muslim and non Muslim. The current non Muslim consumer market in Sri Lanka, comprises more than 20% of its total Islamic banking market shares, which figures are expected to increase due to education and awareness of Islamic banking products' increase in the country," Amana Bank CEO and Managing Director Faizal Salieh said.

The government of Sri Lanka and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka had played an important role in the creation of Sri Lanka's Islamic banking and finance market and Islamic Funds. Takaful and Micro financing segments are gaining momentum.

The recent US$ 175 million Islamic syndicated facility by the SriLankan Airlines, is expected to push forth further issuances in the country, at both domestic and international level.

However, Islamic Finance industry in Sri Lanka is still at nascent level compared to global hubs and the products that are really available in the market place are some of the most essential, yet basic products.

There is room for growth in the market by way of introduction of some of the largest instruments such as Sukuk and Shariah compliant real estate investment trusts.

Salieh noted that there is a pressing need for a meaningful response from legislators, industry experts and academics to implement the necessary regulations to make Islamic banking business more investor and customer friendly.

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