The Scottish Government is looking again at using Islamic finance to bankroll major infrastructure projects.
The Islamic Finance Council, a UK-wide body based in Glasgow, says it held talks with Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International on December 10, describing it as “a joint round table with the IFC exploring opportunities for renewable energy sector investments using Islamic finance”.
Meanwhile, leading financial lawyer Graham Burnside, a member of the IFC, has said Islamic bonds could be used fund major projects including the £2.3 billion Forth road crossing.
Mr Burnside, chairman of Edinburgh law firm Tods Murray, said: “We are going to be pretty short of sources of funding for development, we have got to raise our eyes as to where solutions can come from – whether you look at the private or public sector it’s going to be pretty tight around here.”
He added: “The biggest source of liquidity to be tapped is the petro-dollar world and the Gulf. It may well be that the bigger projects in the UK can be funded in part by a sovereign (wealth) fund from one of the Gulf states, and if so, they may well want an Islamic structure.”
Two years ago First Minister Alex Salmond targeted Qatar as a funding source for some of his government’s biggest infrastructure ambitions.
Scottish Enterprise said last night it was “actively looking at potential investors” in renewable energy, but it was “too early” to comment on Islamic finance.