ISLAMABAD (INP): The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Saturday expressed satisfaction over efforts of the government aimed at rapid growth of Islamic financial industry. “The Islamic banks should also focus on microfinance market to lift people out of poverty,” said FPCCI President Abdur Rauf Alam. He said that over 2000 institutions were providing Islamic financial products globally, while the volume of this sector, which had been projected to hit $3.5 to $4.0 trillion in five years, had already crossed $2.4 trillion. Alam said that Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Iran were leading the Islamic finance sector, having over 65 percent assets, while Malaysia was world leader in Sukuk market. “Pakistan has also witnessed rapid expansion of Islamic financial market, as we had the first Islamic bank in 2002, while now 22 Islamic banks were operating,” he said, and added, “At the same time, the interest of conventional banks in Islamic financing continues to increase.”

The FPCCI president said that Islamic banks were developing at a rapid pace of 200 to 250 percent per annum, and they had captured almost 50 percent of the consumer market. “But most of the institutions overlook microfinance despite having over Rs1.74 trillion in deposits,” he said.

He further said that banking was the leading sector in Islamic financing, making up almost 80 percent of the entire system, while insurance came next.

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