Tunis: Tunisia is again considering the Islamic Finance as the savior of country and it has finalized the plan to issue Sukuk in the beginning of next year to not only support its banking sector but its economy as well.
The Governor of Tunisia’s central bank announced that Tunisia has planned to issue Islamic bonds early in 2013 as the North African country is seeking to reform its banking sector and diversify sources of funding.
Tunisian central bank governor, Chadli Ayari, informed on the sidelines of a banking seminar, “Tunisia will begin issuing Islamic bonds early next year ... This is part of the draft budget for 2013.”
“There are studies under way for Islamic finance in the country, including issuing Islamic bonds,” he added.
Committees set up by the finance ministry, religious affairs ministry and the central bank are currently working on an Islamic finance law in order to establish Islamic banking in Tunisia, where there are only two Islamic banks.
Ayari said that the total assets of those two banks are 1.4 billion Tunisian dinars ($893 million), or 2.5 percent of the total assets of the Tunisian banks.
Nadia Kamha, Director-General of the Tunisia central bank said that the law would be ready “within weeks” and that it will be presented to the government for approval.
The moderate Islamist Ennahda movement is leading Tunisia’s government after winning elections last year that followed the ousting of former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
Tunisia’s budget deficit should narrow to 6 percent next year from 6.6 percent of GDP expected in 2012, Ayari said while indicating economic recovery in the cradle of Arab Spring revolts may take longer than anticipated.
The Tunisian economy is gradually recovering from last year’s political turmoil but faces problems as a result of the crisis in the Eurozone, the main market for its exports and the source of a majority of tourist visitors.
Morocco, also led by a moderate Islamist party, is in a race with Tunisia to become a regional hub for Islamic finance.
General Affairs and Governance Minister, Najib Boulif, said in March that the government would submit to parliament a draft bill with a set of regulations for the introduction of Islamic finance products in the country.“We are keen to capitalize on the stability we enjoy here to turn Morocco into a regional Islamic finance platform,” Boulif said.