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Role of Islamic Finance in country’s development and helping in disasters like Earthquake.

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BankIslami, the country’s leading Islamic finance institution, continues to receive acknowledgments for its momentous performance, the latest being Pakistan’s coveted national accolade, ‘Brand of the Year 2021’. BankIslami was awarded in the Islamic Finance category.

The Award was presented to President and CEO, BankIslami, Syed Amir Ali by the Honorable President of Pakistan, ArifAlvi. The organization, has previously won the Award in 2019 and 2020 as well. With its innovative and digital-centric services BankIslami is revolutionizing the Sharia-compliant banking space across the country.

Brands of the Year Award is one of Pakistan’s most respected honors presented to organizations which can achieve critical success factors within the management of their brands. BankIslami has had an impressive track record over the years especially when it comes to creating a strong, resilient and sustainable brand image within the minds of its consumers.
Being one of the most technologically advanced financial institutions; the Bank makes constant efforts to diversify its service offerings in a way that can benefit the customers to the greatest extent. BankIslami recently reported that its deposits crossed PKR 300 billion highlighting the trust that customers place with the organization.

Commenting on the development, President and CEO, BankIslami, Syed Amir Ali stated; “At BankIslami, we believe in providing the most convenient Shariah-compliant financial services in the market to our customers and all other stakeholders.

We’re continuing to increase financial inclusion across the country by establishing credibility and a reputation as a bank that makes banking easier for its customers. Being recognized by a platform like Brand of the Year is a huge accomplishment for us, and we want to maintain our momentum in the future.”

BankIslami has also been recognized at numerous international platforms for its achievements including the Global Islamic Finance Awards where the organization won the ‘Best Islamic Banking Brand’ Award.

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) — a subsidiary of the Islamic Development Bank — would make available this month about $600 million of syndicated loan for commodity financing.

An official statement said this was conveyed to Pakistan during a virtual meeting between Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan and ITFC Chief Executive Officer Hani Salem Sonbol. “The CEO ITFC updated that the ongoing syndication is about to complete and $600m will be available to Pakistan during this month,” the statement said.

This is part of the $4.5bn new framework agreement signed by the two sides in June this year to finance oil, LNG and fertilizer imports over the next three years (2021-23).

The Ministry of Economic Affairs said the ITFC chief also assured the minister that Pakistan remained the top priority for it to invest in trade financing and meet country’s POL procurement requirements. The meeting also discussed how ITFC can arrange financing for broader trade activities in Pakistan under commodity financing.

MrAyub appreciated ITFC for arranging financing of about $7bn for import oil & LNG from 2008 to 2021 and told Mr Salem that Pakistan’s POL financing requirement was much bigger and the ITFC could enhance its financing from the existing $1.5bn each year. The minister also discussed how this financing facility could also be utilised for import of food related commodities.

Mr Salem appreciated Pakistan’s interest in ITFC to meet the short-term trade financing needs and encouraged to include other commodities in addition to POL to increase annual financing from $1.1bn under previous arrangement to $1.5bn under current arrangement.

He informed the minister that ITFC had arranged two Warehouse Receipt Financing workshops in Islamabad and Karachi during 2019 in collaboration of EAD and State Bank of Pakistan and will provide technical assistance for capacity building in the agriculture sector.

The $4.5bn financing signed by two sides in June this year is to be utilised by Pakistan State Oil (PSO), Pak-Arab Refinery Ltd (Parco) and Pakistan LNG Ltd (PLL) for import of crude oil, refined petroleum products and LNG during the years 2021-2023. Within the context of its trade integrated solutions approach, the framework agreement also covers ITFC’s support for trade related technical assistance projects in Pakistan, which will be selected jointly by both parties according to the national economic priorities and development plan of Pakistan.

The agreement also requires identification of other areas of cooperation at country and regional levels and to enhance and promote trade, trade capacities of relevant state authorities and financial institutions and trade cooperation in the country.

The ITFC had also committed in April 2018 a similar financing line for Pakistan for 2018-20, but utilisation finally could not cross $3bn as private refineries were unable to import crude under the facility which mostly remained limited to Parco and to some extent to PSO.

Pakistan’s oil import bill has amounted to about $11.4bn last fiscal year but has been rising in recent months because of increasing trend in the international oil prices. ITFC is a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group and provides trade financing to member countries after putting together funds from financial institutions in the Middle East. The sources said Pakistan had last year signed a $1.1bn trade financing facility for the current year which could not be fully utilized due to lower oil international oil prices, depressed demand in Pakistan and limitations of the refineries in availing Arabian Crude. The financing is normally 2 to 2.3pc plus London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (Libor).

ITFC had a limited portfolio of about a billion dollars of its own and normally arranged funds from other private financial institutions. Some of the other major recipients of the ITFC’s trade facility have been Indonesia, Egypt and Bangladesh. The facility is expected to provide relief in oil and gas import bill and ease pressure on foreign exchange reserves. Under the facility, funds do not come into Pakistan’s account but ease pressure on foreign exchange reserves.

The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) has also bagged the Best Islamic Stock Exchange Award 2021 by Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA).

According to a recent statement, GIFA is an international platform that recognizes excellence in banking and finance in the Islamic world.

“PSX has a robust platform for providing Shariah-compliant products including dedicated Islamic indices, Shariah-compliant equities, and debt instruments,” the statement read.

The stock market has listed Modarabas and Islamic commercial banks and products such as Islamic Mutual Funds and an ETF.

It boasts of the total listed capital of Shariah-compliant companies of Rs770 Billion as of June 30, 2021, making up 53% of the total listed capital of all listed companies.

Speaking on the occasion, PSX Chairperson DrShamshadAkhtar said: “It is an immense achievement for Pakistan Stock Exchange to have won the Best Islamic Stock Exchange Award 2021 presented by Global Islamic Finance Awards.”

“Both PSX and Pakistan have been working for many years to introduce Islamic modes of financing in both the banking and capital markets. This has filled a real need of the financial sector customers,” he maintained.

This award has been presented to the Pakistan Stock Exchange for the first time in the 10-year history of GIFA, and hence, is considered as an international vote of confidence in PSX as a robust and active bourse, facilitating all types of companies and investors whether Shariah-compliant or otherwise.

On 7th October 2021, 5.9 magnitude earthquakes hit District Harnai at 3:02 am. The major impact of EQ is in Harani district Municipal Committee Harnai area, UC Saddar-I, UC Saddar-II and UC Shahrag-urban respectively. As per District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) Harnai figures, 21 individuals have expired and more than 200 (estimated) are injured. About 25 seriously injured have been referred to Quetta for further treatment.

“Besides human casualties, thousands of houses, buildings, shops and government offices have been either destroyed or damaged partially,” said DDMA representative Babu Amin Shah at Deputy Commissioner Office.

Moreover,Sinjavi-Harnai road has been closed due to heavy land sliding. Local authorities are making efforts to clear off the blocked road. However, exact figures of the infrastructure damages are being assessed at different levels by the official which could take some time.

IRP Field Office Harnai has been in close coordination with District Administration (DC Office/DDMA, DHQ Hospital Harnai) since the onset of disaster and shifted rescued 2 injured women by shifting them to the hospital. Similarly, IR team arranged drinking water for the affected people at hospital right after the incidence.

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