Investors from the UAE and Bahrain have applied for a licence to establish an Islamic bank in Iraq with a paid up capital of $240 million.
"We have applied to the Central Bank of Iraq and expect the approval to be given within six months," Abdulsalam M. Juwaied, Vice President of the Iraqi Islamic Bank for Investment and Development, told Zawya.
He added that the bank will primarily focus on finance for small and medium enterprises, and fund the establishment of schools, hospitals and care homes.
Foreign Islamic banks have been eying Iraq’s potential since the Government seemed bent on nurturing a Shari’ah-compliant industry. However, regulatory rules have so far thwarted plans for Islamic finance in Iraq. There are currently eight Islamic banks, however regulatory rules need to change to address taxation concerns and to bridge the gap in regulation between conventional and Islamic banking.
source: CPI Financial