Morocco to Launch Islamic Banks
The Moroccan government took the first steps towards the adoption of a draft law on the establishment of Islamic banking in the country. This comes as a result of the cabinet’s plan to attract certain segments of foreign direct investment. In the opinion of the budget committee represented by minister-delegate Driss Azami, Morocco can significantly gain from the mobilization of financial inclusions and savings thanks to participatory financial products.
The government said that the introduction of Islamic banking was motivated by several factors including the potential for financing and investment. As a result, a number of new financial products and services are to be offered to both Moroccans and foreigners that provide participatory financial products. Hereby, Rabat is also planning to boost national savings rates. As the next step, the High Council of Ulemas will be consulted so that Islamic banking complies with sharia. Therefore, banks that are interested in providing Islamic financial services must establish audit committees in order to track eventual non-compliance with the opinions of the council regarding banks’ operations, products, and activities supplied to the public.
Moroccans are not united in the opinion on Islamic banking. Many people think that alternative products in line with sharia cannot be fully trusted. Sociologist Karima Msbni said that the establishment of sharia-based banking will likely help those clients who have been waiting until Moroccan banks are able to provide this kind of financial services. On the other hand, experts from the banking sector think that Islamic banking will generally benefit in terms of foreign direct investment. It is also believed that Islamic banking might attract many investors and financiers from the Gulf countries as some of them already expressed their interest in Islamic banks a couple of years ago.