Speech by His Excellency Abdullah Jihad, Vice President of the Republic of Maldives, at the 3rd Islamic Banking and Finance Industry Conference Bandos Island Resort, Maldives
17 November 2016, Ref: PS/NRAJ/2016/13

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 بســم اللّـه الرّحمـن الرّحيــم
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

        اَلحَمْـدُ لِلّـهِ رَبّ العَـالَمِـين،  وَالصّـلاة وَالسّلام علـى سيّدنا محـمَّدٍ، خاتم الأنبياء والمرسلين، وَعلـى آلـه وَصَحْبِـهِ أجمـعـين.

               

Madam Chairperson Dr. Muneeza, the CEO of UTO Consult and the CMD of ADL capital, and also our distinguished keynote speaker Dr. Sidheeq, our partners in this conference, and all the distinguished participants.

I’m very glad extremely happy to be here again, this is not the first time. I have met some of you. So I would like to thank you again for inviting me to grace this occasion. So, I would start expressing my appreciation to UTO Edu Consult, and the local host, Maldives Center for Islamic Finance Mr. Didi.. It is truly an honor for me to be the Chief Guest of this Islamic Banking and Finance Industry Conference held in Maldives for the 3rd time.

MIBFIC3 is an international financial conference organized by UTO Edu Consult of Sri Lanka, which is in itself a testament to the strategic importance of Maldives as a center for Islamic Finance in the region. We should be the hub for Islamic World, Islamic Finance. That is our vision. I’m sure will be able to achieve this vision with your assistant.

Dr Muneeza has been the champion also the chairperson of Islamic Finance Corporation. I’m sure with the help of Dr. Muneeza and her dedicated working commitment and also the Maldives Islamic Financial Company CEO and members would be able to achieve the goal. It is a vision of our president to make Maldives a hub for Islamic Finance. I would touch this in the middle of presentation our little speech.

So, let me welcome all the respected international speakers. I hope I would be able to be a participant here, because all of my life I spend in finance sector. And Islamic finance is part fit.

I am happy to note that this conference specifically addresses numerous key areas to further develop and strengthen the Islamic finance and halal industry in the Maldives. It is through this type of intellectual discourse that any industry will flourish and will be of benefit for the people of this small nation.

As we all know, the global Islamic finance industry has grown and expanded rapidly over the last decade. I think it is not only a decade, more than decades. We start almost early seventies or even before that. According to the World Bank statistics, Sharia-compliant financial assets are estimated to be 2 trillion dollars and Islamic finance is already mainstreamed within the global financial markets.

The Government of His Excellency Abdullah Yameen recognizes the importance of Islamic Finance or Islamic economics for financing the development efforts of this nation. Today I am extremely proud that we have founded the Maldives Islamic Finance Centre a 100% government owned company. The purpose of MCIF is to achieve the important objective of developing the Islamic finance and halal industry in the country and to establish Maldives as a hub of Islamic Finance in South Asia. As our Distinguished speakers mentioned the future road pass through Maldives. I think I fully agree, the future Islamic finance road passes through Maldives. I think we will widen that road with your help. At present it is very narrow. May be we can widen much widen than any other country.

Priority has also been given to develop and promote the halal industry as a separate industry in the country. I’m sure Dr. Muneeza had done a lot of work in this and sometimes have to argue with her. What is halal industry? Tell me what is halal industry? Has it become an industry itself. It is just a product. So she gives a lot explanation as I remember those days. As such, even now, MCIF is in the process of establishing a halal accreditation board in association with all relevant governmental agencies.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The 3rd Islamic Banking and Finance International Conference is held for the first time in a resort, like Bandos Island. This is the first time. So I think we also try to make resort as halal or sharia compliant. The purpose of this is to showcase the important role of Islamic finance in tourism as well as to emphasize the importance of investing in halal tourism. That’s I think how we are going to halal industry. It is not only their meat, it going to be halal. Now the service or the resorts are going to be halal. Halal tourism is now an established concept in the global tourism industry and is well documented. I think Dr. Muneeza will not disagree with this, for generating ample amounts of revenue to the governments. The government therefore recognizes the importance of tapping into this lucrative market. I think we can make it more lucrative.

As an initial step, the government will be allocating an island to MCIF already its done. There is one island located to develop a halal resort. For the first time in Maldives tourism industry, the revenue from the project will directly benefit the deprived people in the society by enhancing the quality of their lives. In order to achieve this noble objective, the profits from this project will go into a sovereign fund for the alleviation of poverty. Our government envisions a prosperous country that shares the proceeds of growth with all. We seek to incorporate equity and inclusiveness in the course of our development.

Distinguished guests,

Today, at this momentous event, I am extremely proud of to highlight President Yameen’s vision to open up our financial sector to the world by offering attractive incentives for foreign investors, hence the plan is to establish an International Finance Centre in Maldives. Not only Islamic but International finance sector in Maldives. This major project will be based in Hulhumale’. And I have very happy news. The Maldives center of Islamic finance company will be in charge of this project and making the arrangements for the inceptions of this project and I extremely grateful to MCIF chairpersons, CEO and the board members for the acceptance to carry out this project.

Since we are also running out of time, I would not go further. I would like to thank you again for this 3rd time to have this conference and I also have gained a lot of knowledge from the keynote speaker’s presentations. Sometimes in my life hopefully I will be spend more time with you.

So, I hope that this conference would enhance our efforts and revolutionize our means towards developing our delicate economy through the Islamic finance industry. Before I sit I would like to thank our beloved president for his initiative for his commitment to make Maldives a hub for Islamic Finance, and also Dr. Muneeza and MCIF and the rest of the team, who are assisting us to make this happen. I would like to thank all of the distinguished speakers here and also the organizes for this successful two day conference. Thank you again.

والسّلام عليكم ورحمـة اللّـه وبركاته

 

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