Banks get time to claim subsidy on youth loans
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is expanding issuance of rupee-based Islamic bonds (sukuk), auctioning Rs 100 billion ($955 million) worth of three-year paper this week, a much-needed tool for the fast-growing Islamic banking sector. The central bank plans to offer another Rs100bn worth of sukuk in April, according to its auction calendar. If successful, the two auctions would exceed the total amount of sukuk the central bank has sold in the previous three year period.
Pakistan's Islamic banks have expanded rapidly along with growth of Shariah-compliant banking across the Middle East and Southeast Asia, but the sector still lacks some of the money market instruments available to conventional lenders.
Islamic banks follows religious principles such as bans on interest and pure monetary speculation, which rules out their use of short-term financial instruments such as treasury bills and repurchase agreements.
In the 12-month period ending in September, Pakistan's 22 Islamic finance institutions have added Rs409bn in assets, a 36.2 per cent growth rate, central bank data shows. The sector now holds an 11.2pc share of total banking assets, up from 9.9pc a year earlier.
Profitability, however, remains below the banking industry average, partly due to higher expenses as Islamic banks expand their branch networks and a lack of compliant investment options. This week's auction will also be the first time the central bank issues sukuk with a fixed rental rate, which will be paid on a semi-annual basis, compared to the variable rental rate it has used since it began sukuk auctions in 2008.
The central bank issues sukuk based on a structure known as ijara, a Shariah-compliant sale and lease-back contract.
This week's auction uses Karachi's international airport as the underlying asset for the transaction, with the maximum value of the programme being Rs197.4bn, central bank said in its tender notice.
Meanwhile, The deadline for submission of subsidy claims by banks, working as Prime Minister's Youth Business Loan Executing Agencies (EAs), has been enhanced by five working days, said a circular by the State Bank today.
Accordingly, Development Finance Support Depart ment, SBP BSC will process EAs claims for payment within 15 working days instead of 10 fixed earlier. "Executing Agencies shall observe standard business rules for calculation of mark-up subsidy under PMYBL scheme," said the circular.