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State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Deputy Governor Seema Kamil, on Tuesday, said that Islamic banking aims to expand up to 35% within the next two years.

Addressing a seminar on Islamic banking and economic development, Kamil said, “Pakistan is working on its own Islamic banking model. At present 20% of commercial banks have adopted Islamic banking and one private bank has completely been converted into an Islamic bank.”

Stressing on the need for Shariah scholars to create awareness about Islamic banking, she said, “SBP will provide facilities to whichever bank wants to Islamise its branches.” The central bank has established two sectors in its Islamic banking structure – Islamic finance and Islamic development. “People’s interest in Islamic banking is increasing and this facility is being extended to improve their quality of life,” said the SBP official. While the task of converting from conventional banking to Islamic banking is a challenging one, she said the State Bank is offering its full cooperation and will come up with a revised plan.

“Through Islamic banking, more people will be able to avail the facility of financing,” she added. Agreeing that converting to Islamic banking data into a workable plan is a daunting task, Bank Chairman, Sharia Board Dawood Bakar said that, “Technology today has made it easy to convert data into policies.” “Creating a simple ecosystem is important and this is one of the issues that needs to be corrected,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2023.

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