Islamic banking ideal to boost green finance

DUBAI: Islamic Banking is the right platform to boost ‘green financing’ as it is based on the concept of promoting good practices and values, a leading Indian banker in Qatar has said.



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R Seetharaman, the Chief Executive Officer of Doha Bank, said Islamic banking is not just a financial system, but is part of a total value-based social system that seeks to enhance the general welfare of society as a whole.

Seetharaman was delivering the inaugural address at a seminar on Islamic economics, organised by the Indian Islamic Association – Qatar (IIAQ), under the title, ‘Toward an Alternative Economy’.

“Sustainable environment development, developing water resources, facing global warming, ensuring women’s participation and promotion of small-scale enterprises are all part of green financing. This is clearly an area where Islamic Banking can play a pivotal role,” he was quoted by Gulf Times as saying.

Seetharaman, however, noted that Islamic banking is currently in its infancy and faces several challenges and added that young people should be encouraged to take up these challenges to ensure this significant economic system carries through and plays a leading role in the current global financial stage.

He added that Islamic banking is growing in popularity as Japan has just issued five Sukook Ijara (Islamic leasing bonds) and many other countries including Italy, Canada and Spain are showing great interest in such products and services of Islamic banking.

In the UK, there is a full-fledged Islamic bank, called the Islamic Bank of Britain, and there are 22 counters at conventional banks that offer Islamic banking services and products.

Seetharaman noted that infrastructure development projects in India can attract foreign investment if the country opens up its banking sector to Islamic banking.

India’s Planning Commission has earmarked a USD 542 billion investment for this sector in the XI Plan (2007-12), but hardly any money comes from Gulf-based financiers, as they are reluctant to deposit in an interest-based system.

P P Abdur Rasheed, the former Head of the Economics Department at Government College, Malappuram, and K Abdullah Hassan, the Head of Research at Islamic University, Santapuram, also delivered speeches on the ‘Fundamentals of Islamic Economics’ and ‘Basic Principles of the Zakah System in Islam’.

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