Dar hints at important development on SMEs

Centre for excellence in Islamic banking inaugurated

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Finance Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar Friday hinted at some important development regarding small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector.
“Soon a good news will come up about SMEs,” he responded to query from a reporter about the future of SMEs during the inauguration of Centre for Excellence in Islamic Finance at Institute of Business Administration (IBA) here.
The minister also said the government was also committed to widen the tax net by making the non-filers as filers. The issue of withholding tax on non-filers would also be resolved at the earliest, he said.
On this occasion, in his speech, the federal finance minister emphasized the commercial banks to expedite their efforts for the conversion of the conventional banking into Islamic banking. For this, he continued, there is a great business for Islamic banking in the micro-financing, SMEs and agriculture sectors of the country. The real business for the banks is in these sectors, he said.
“Our first priority is Islamic banking. Being Muslims, our ultimate goal should be riba-free economy,” he remarked.
He also repeated his resolve that more important steps would be taken to include more population into financial system as at present only 13 percent people were linked to banking system. The government had already taken many important and targeted steps on this account.
About the promotion of Islamic banking, the target for next two or three years was the conversion of the conventional business into the Islamic banking up to 30 percent of total banking. At present, this share was 12 percent. The government had already taken many steps in this regard, he said. The commercial banks should at least open windows for the Islamic banking, he asserted.
He said Islamic banking had become very attractive to the world and we should take maximum share in the global Islamic banking business.
He expressed his satisfaction that as announced by him in his budget speech of 2014-15, three centres for excellence in Islamic banking had been set up in the country and hoped that these centres would contribute a lot for building manpower for Islamic banking in the country.
Governor State Bank of Pakistan Ashraf Mehmood Wathra said the setting up of these centres for excellence in Islamic banking was not an easy task. Two centers were already inaugurated in Lahore and Peshawer recently, he said.
Former governor SBP and Director IBA, Dr. Ishrat Hussain also spoke of the importance of the centre and highlighted the role of IBA in manpower building.
Meanwhile, Federal Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar has called for enhancing value addition in textile sector to help increase the country’s exports. He was talking to a delegation from the representatives of the textile value added sector at the Governor House here on Friday.
The members of the delegation apprised the finance minister of the prevailing situation in the textile sector. Zubair Motiwala, Chairman of the Council of Pakistan Textile Association, told APP that the Finance Minister informed the delegation that a meeting of the stakeholders in this sector would be convened in Islamabad next week to resolve the issues. He said that the minister desired that any hurdle in the enhancement of the country’s export should be removed at the earliest.
In Islamabad, Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Chairman Zafar Hijazi briefed Minister for Finance Muhammad Ishaq Dar on the integration of stock exchanges.
He said the SECP would facilitate completion of the integration process in a smooth manner which involves balancing the needs of all the stakeholders involved. The process, he added, was expected to be completed in next month to ensure operationalization of the integrated Pakistan Stock Exchange on January 1, 2016.
The minister appreciated the supportive role played by the SECP in facilitating the process of integration and praised the progressive stance adopted by the three stock exchanges towards this landmark achievement.
He opined that the integration would help attract the much-needed foreign investment and global partnerships for the Pakistani capital market.
Ishaq Dar, however, underscored the need for an improved governance structure for the new stock exchange and emphasized upon the purpose of integration being the creation of a modern and well-governed exchange that ensures improved protection of investors and is well positioned in the global arena.

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