Cabinet approves Islamic bonds draft law

The Cabinet approved a draft law on Islamic bonds after it was approved by other institutions, Finance Minister Morsy Hegazy said Wednesday.

Hegazy said the Finance Ministry, Investment Ministry, Financial Supervisory Authority and various political groups had approved the draft law on the Islamic bonds, or sukuk.

The Islamic Research Academy of Al-Azhar had rejected a previous draft law on the bonds prepared by the ministry. Later, the Shura Council Economic Committee proposed an updated draft.

Academy member and former Grand Mufti Nasr Farid Wasel told Al-Masry Al-Youm earlier this month that the bill would allow foreigners to own Islamic bonds and shares in local factories and businesses.

“It is like we are selling our properties to foreigners,” he said.

Hegazy also said the Cabinet has not circumvented Al-Azhar.

“The draft does not put Egypt’s assets for sale,” he said.

He said the Islamic Development Bank is willing to finance the sukuk with US$6 billion.

“The sukuk will attract investors once there is political stability,” he said.

The Cabinet’s push to issue sukuk has drawn criticism from religious figures and financial scholars alike, although state officials tout the bonds as the way out of the nation’s financial crisis.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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