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Islamic finance in the Maldives.

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slamic finance is one of the fastest growing industries in the world today with over $1 trillion in its assets worldwide. Even though modern Islamic financing based on sharia principles was born in the Middle East in 1970’s, today it has reached our tiny nation.

Although an Insurance company based on Islamic finance was open on 2003, Maldivian Islamic finance industry really took its growth on 2011 with its first Islamic bank. The bank grew double in its size each year for the first few years and has since been growing steadily with the huge demand from the public. Building its out station branches on all major population centers and along with the introduction of an Islamic banking window at the national bank, Islamic banking is accessible in every corner of the nation.

Future of Islamic banking in the Maldives

Since the beginning Islamic finance has faced many obstacles in the country. Starting from legal issues to regulatory issues faced during its infancy in the Maldives,  it’s now fair to say that current market favors Islamic finance.

Today, Islamic financing regulatory bodies are formed and functional allowing the industry to grow in the right direction with oversight. More and more service providers are joining including private sector participation by companies who provide different products under the principles of Islamic finance.

Under the administration of President Yameen, the economy of Maldives was set to so that the Maldives would become an Islamic finance hub in the world. This initiative was launched under the umbrella of the Islamic university of Maldives  where teaching Islamic finance was made a priority. Today we see a reasonable number of graduates with thorough knowledge each year joining this industry ensuring the future of this industry is in good hands.

With proper investing options to Islamic financing providers such as a growing housing industry in Maldives where people prefer Islamic finance as the primary method to obtain a home and also with the current government’s intention to introduce halal tourism will create a whole new platform for Islamic finance to grow in the Maldives. Likewise with Islamic bonds (sukuk) Islamic finance today has enough opportunities to invest in the economy and grow along with it.

Although under the economic recession due to COVID 19 and due to huge number of loans of borrowed by the government, the Maldivian economic growth is at halt but the popularity of Islamic finance has grown significantly due to the burden people had to take due to interest from conventional banks. Mr. Ahmed Ali who talked to MNN said “I took a loan of MVR 70,000 two year ago, I had to differ my loan due to COVID 19 but I wished I had not because still my loan is nearly 70,000 due to interest occurred during the COVID period which if deferred the loan”.

With educated youths joining Islamic finance industry and increasing investment opportunities along with the public popularity Islamic finance has a bright future in this country.

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G7 fail to reach consensus on phase-out of coal.

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The G7 has been left stranded on coal as the U.S. and  Japan blocked a deal to end the use of coal in the G7 countries.

Following days of negotiations between the world’s richest and most advanced countries, the G7 leaders’ summit in Cornwall, England failed  as the decision to set a date to phase-out the use of coal was blocked by the U.S. and Japan.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated that they sought “language that aligns with the president’s domestic commitments, including a carbon pollution free power sector by 2035”.

According to an EU official, majority of the G7 members were willing to back the phase-out of coal in the 2030s. But Japan which has changed its views on coal following the Fukushima nuclear accident remains in favor of coal.

Criticism has been targeted at the G7 for their lack of commitment on such critical issues while Russia and China has made commitments to go carbon free. China is set to limit the use of coal starting this year and go carbon neutral by 2060.

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Journalists from the US market hosted by Visit Maldives.

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Visit Maldives is hosting a group of journalists from the US market.

According to the their website, this is the first of the familiarization trips planned for the market this year. Held from the 9th to the 16th of June 2021, the purpose of the trip is to promote Maldives as a safe haven for the travelers, highlighting the unique geographical formation of the country as well as the safety measures in place.

A combined circulation of over 500,000 print readers will be reached with over 78 million on online channels, as the journalists will have their content appear on major publications in online and offline channels such as Travel & Leisure, TripSavvy.com, Forbes, Insider Travel, LA Style, Citizen-Femme.com, Travel Age West and Travel Pulse said Visit Maldives.

In the article published on their official website, Visit Maldives stated that the accommodation for the trip was arranged at Robinson Club Noonu, LUX* North Male’ Atoll and Kuramathi Maldives. To target the high-end travelers of the US market, activities highlighting the natural beauty and the luxury aspects of the destination is to be carried out during the trip.

Visit Maldives highlighted additional activities planned for the US market this year such as familiarization trips for influencers, joint marketing promotions with tour operators, virtual roadshow, webinars and participation in virtual and physical fairs such as the Ultra Summit show taking place in the upcoming month.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, stated Visit Maldives, steady growth has been observed from the US market, with 19,759 arrivals in 2020, ranking as the 8th source market of tourist arrivals. 15,914 arrivals were recorded as of 3rd June 2021, ranking as the 6th market of top tourist arrivals for the year.

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Instagram and Facebook giving more flexibility to users.

Mariyam Mohamed

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On 26th May 2021, Facebook announced that both Facebook and Instagram users will have the option to make their “like” counts private so they can decide what works best for them.

The company has been testing if hiding the “like” counts gives a favorable experience for Instagram users. They found that the “like” counts are beneficial for some and displeasing to others. Now Facebook is giving people a choice to hide their “like” counts on all post on their feeds and their own posts so the public do not see how many likes they get.

For some users, like counts are recognized as current trends. So giving people a choice over hiding the “like” count will benefit people to focus on the content being shared instead of focusing on the popularity of the posts.

As claimed in the Facebook announcement, “Changing the way people view like counts is a big shift. We’ll continue in new ways to give people more choice, so they feel good about the time they spend on our apps.”

Furthermore, the company stated that they are giving more control on their social platforms to its users. They also announced new tools that allow users to filter offensive content from their direct messages and control over what they can share and see on Facebook news feeds.

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