Islamic finance ideal for sustainable economy: Brunei minister


Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong tours the TAIB booth. - BB

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ANN): Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Abu Bakar Apong emphasised the potential of Islamic finance to activate socio-economic advancement, as the financial returns generated also entail positive social and environmental impact.

At the opening of the Brunei Darussalam Islamic Capital Market Conference (BICAM) 2021 yesterday, the minister, who is also Deputy Chairman of the Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) Board of Directors, said, “The risk-sharing feature in Islamic finance and its alignment to the objective of Syariah or Maqasid Al-Syariah makes it a natural vehicle towards the creation of a sustainable economy.

“Nevertheless, the potential for more innovative solutions and opportunities in Islamic finance lies largely untapped, especially in the Islamic capital market sector.”

The minister said, “In this regard, the use of a more diverse set of financial instruments such as Islamic social finance tools (Zakat, Waqaf and Sedekah), sukuk and Islamic FinTech can further be explored to help Islamic finance deliver even greater impact in stimulating a more vibrant Islamic finance industry.”

Awang Abu Bakar also emphasised the importance of continuous collaboration among key players in realising the vision of a resilient, sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Meanwhile, Managing Director of AMBD and Chairperson of the Brunei Institute of Leadership and Islamic Finance (BILIF) Board of Directors Rokiah Badar highlighted the significant milestones achieved in AMBD’s efforts towards striving to become an international hub for Islamic finance.

Moving forward, she shared plans to spur the domestic capital market to further diversify domestic investment opportunities, in line with Syariah standards.

Rokiah also shared that with the growing importance for Sustainable, Responsible and Impact (SRI) investing, AMBD has undertaken initiatives in developing sustainable finance in Brunei Darussalam through its Sustainable Finance Task Force (SFTF), which is responsible in monitoring the global and regional development of sustainable finance, as well as working hand in hand with market players to foster the sustainability agenda.

BICAM 2021 is organised by BILIF in collaboration with the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF), Malaysia, and with support from AMBD.

During the two-day conference, participants will have the opportunity to discuss issues and challenges pertaining to the development of Islamic capital market especially in Brunei Darussalam’s context and subsequently, discuss strategies to promote resiliency, sustainability and inclusivity of an Islamic capital market ecosystem. Participants will also receive the opportunity to learn other countries’ experiences on the impact of capital market growth.

On the first day of the conference, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia Sri Mulyani Indrawati gave a virtual keynote presentation on ‘Stimulating the Development of Islamic Capital Market Sector: A Story’.

President and CEO of INCEIF, Malaysia, Professor Dato’ Dr Mohd Azmi bin Omar also delivered a keynote presentation on ‘Fueling an Inclusive and Sustainable Future through Islamic Capital Market’.

Topics that were deliberated included ‘Building an Innovative and Sustainable Islamic Capital Market’; ‘Creating a Vibrant and Resilient Islamic Capital Market’; and ‘Intersections between Islamic, Green and Sustainable Finance: Issues and Challenges’.

Among the local and international speakers are Wan Rizaidy bin Wan Mamat Saufi from AMBD; Dr Ahmad Lutfi bin Haji Abdul Razak from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD); Founder of the RFI Foundation Blake Goud from the United Kingdom; Dr Eskandar Shah bin Mohd Rasid from INCEIF, Malaysia; and Dr Rifki Ismal, the Assistant Secretary General of the Islamic Finance Standards Board (IFSB).

Also in attendance were members of the AMBD Board of Directors, BILIF Board of Directors, as well as senior officers from government ministries and agencies, AMBD, banks and private companies.

Due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, BICAM 2021 is conducted as a hybrid event, where local speakers and participants attend the conference physically, while international speakers and participants take part virtually.

BICAM 2021 is held to support the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)’s Brunei Mid-Year Conference and Exhibition (MYCE), specifically in the first week of the month-long event, under the theme of ‘Islamic Week’. - Borneo Bulletin/Asia News Network

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