KARACHI: The extensive study of State Bank of Pakistan established the demand for Islamic banking at all level.

At the same time, it revealed the lack of awareness not only among ordinary people but among qualified and educated groups.

“There is desire among consumers to know more about Islamic banking and address some crucial questions,” said Deputy Governor, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Saeed Ahmad here on Tuesday while launching the 2nd phase of media campaign for promotion of Islamic banking in Pakistan.

SBP’s Deputy Governor, in his inaugural speech, congratulated all the stakeholders on successful completion of the 1st phase of media campaign which primarily focused on developing awareness and improving visibility of Islamic banking in the country. He said that the main theme of 2nd phase of this campaign which is being launched today is education and awareness of Islamic banking.

He stated that through this campaign people would be able to know the basic principles of Islamic banking. This would further translate into growth of the industry.

He explained that the building of this phase will stand on preparation of documentaries on Islamic finance explaining basic concepts, practices and also address the general misconceptions– intensive use of print media for dissemination of basic Islamic banking concepts — engaging electronic media for initiating talks on Islamic banking and finance by renowned Islamic finance professionals — highlighting value proposition and Shariah compliance of Islamic banking– dissemination of the brochures and pamphlets containing answers of some of the common questions about Islamic banking by public at large.

He also updated the audience about the initiatives of the steering committee for promotion of Islamic banking constituted by the Federal Government. In this regard, he said, the committee has completed its first year and various issues faced by the Islamic banking industry have been discussed and solutions have been recommended. The Deputy Governor further disclosed that Federal Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar will be launching 3rd round of Financial Innovation Challenge Fund on January 9, in Islamabad.

The theme of this round is to invite leading business schools and universities of the country for the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for Islamic Banking and Finance.

The Centre of Excellence will ensure supply of qualified and trained human resource to the Islamic Banking and Finance Industry.

Speaking at the ceremony, Chairman of the steering committee, Irfan Siddiqui said the committee for media campaign highly appreciated the SBP efforts for launching the second phase of awareness campaign for promotion of Islamic banking in Pakistan.

He specially thanked SBP Governor, Deputy Governor Saeed Ahmed and Islamic Banking Department of State Bank for taking keen interest in the growth of Islamic banking industry and steering the launch of an Industry wide joint campaign.

He said that with these coordinated efforts Industry will Insha Allah achieve 20 per cent share target by 2020.

Siddiqui also admired the positive role of steering committee for promotion of Islamic banking established by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar.

He suggested that specific workshops and training programs should be designed for corporate customers, general public, Islamic scholars, government officials and judiciary to create awareness of the products and services offered by Islamic banks. He emphasized on speeding up the work to establish the Center of Excellence on Islamic Finance in each province to cater the increasing demand of Islamic banking professionals.

Siddiqui also highlighted the role of branchless Islamic banking operations to increase the reach of Islamic banks to the rural and low income segment of the society, and to increase the ratio of bankable population in the country.

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