India urged to adopt interest-free banking system

Updated 10 March 2013
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India urged to adopt interest-free banking system

The Keralite community of Jeddah proudly released the book “Islamic Banking” written by KTM Kutty during a function at Red Sea Palace Hotel here recently. The book is first of its kind to be released in the Malayalam language. Prof. Muhammed Azmi Omar, director general of Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) at the Islamic Development Bank, released the book by handing it to Alungal Muhammed, CMD of Abeer Medical Group. The program was organized by the Islamic Dawah Council in Jeddah.

Prof. Omar gave an informative presentation on the fundamental principles of Islamic banking and called upon the Indian government to make use of the system to boost its economy and exterminate poverty from the country. He talked about transparency in contracts of Islamic banking where everything is explicitly spelled out, and the presence of a third party to ensure Shariah compliancy of Islamic banks and its dealings.

He expounded the need to avoid using the word ‘Islamic’ while introducing interest-free banking systems in a country like India where anything relating to Islam is sensitive. He also gave an overview of the status of Islamic banking around the globe. Although India has the largest number of Muslims, it is difficult to establish an Islamic bank in the country because of the monetary policies of Reserve Bank of India that necessitate any company that lends money to name the interest rate of the institution. He concluded his presentation by reminding the audience that the current status of Islamic banks is in no way perfect because the process of perfecting the system is still an ongoing one.

The book was reviewed by A.M. Sajith of Malayalam News. He was of the opinion that the book was a must read for all Malayalees who wish to understand the fundamentals of Islamic banking. The book gives a very good introduction to the topic.
Muhammed of Al-Abeer gave a felicitation speech praising the effort of the author and encouraged the audience to take further steps in making interest-free banking a norm in our community. Sulaiman Faisi, a mentor of IDC, urged the participants to read the book at least three times so that they understand the concepts thoroughly. “Every Muslim should understand the concepts of the Islamic monetary system.

He also shared the beauty of the zakat system of Islam and explained how zakat would boost a country’s economy. He seconded the view of Prof. Umer saying that the word Islamic should be removed from Islamic banking to be welcomed in countries like India. “The Qur’an is meant for all human beings, so is the monetary system in Islam. So it is not confined to Muslims,” he added.
The author, Kutty shared his experiences in writing the book. The program was attended by representatives from different cultural organizations, the IDB and the media. Muneer welcomed the gathering while Nasser gave a vote of thanks.


UK’s Quercus pulls plug on $570 mln Iran solar plant as sanctions bite

Updated 14 August 2018
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UK’s Quercus pulls plug on $570 mln Iran solar plant as sanctions bite

  • Quercus said it will halt the construction of a 500 million euro ($570 million) solar power plant in Iran
  • Iran has been trying to increase the share of renewable-produced electricity in its energy mix

OSLO: A British renewable energy investor Quercus said it will halt the construction of a 500 million euro ($570 million) solar power plant in Iran due to recently imposed US sanctions on Tehran.
The solar plant in Iran would have been the first renewable energy investment outside Europe by Quercus and the world’s sixth largest, with a 600 megawatt (MW) capacity.
Iran has been trying to increase the share of renewable-produced electricity in its energy mix, partly due to air pollution and to meet international commitments, hoping to have about 5 gigawatt in renewables installed by 2022.
In June, before the US-imposed sanctions, more than 250 companies had signed agreements to add and sell power from about 4 gigawatt of new renewables in the country, which has only 602 MW installed, Iranian energy ministry data showed.
Washington reimposed sanctions last week after pulling out of a 2015 international deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions.
US president Donald Trump has also threatened to penalize companies that continue to operate in Iran, which led banks and many companies around the world to scale back their dealings with Tehran.
“Following the US sanctions on Iran, we have decided to cease all activities in the country, including our 600 MW project. We will continue to monitor the situation closely,” Quercus chief executive Diego Biasi said in an email on Tuesday.
The firm will continue to monitor the situation closely, said Biasi, who declined to comment further.
Last year Quercus said it would set up a project company and sell shares via a private placement after attracting interest from private and institutional investors, including sovereign wealth funds.
Construction was expected to take three years, with each 100 MW standalone lot becoming operational and connecting to the grid every six months.

SANCTIONS BITE
Independently-owned Quercus has a portfolio of around 28 renewable energy plants and 235 MW of installed capacity.
The firm, founded by Biasi and Simone Borla in 2010, controls five investment funds and has a network of “highly regarded external partners,” it says on its website.
The 600 MW plant it aimed to construct in Iran would be the firm’s largest investment. Quercus declined to comment on the details of its decision to cease the plan and on any financial losses that could result from it.
Fearing the consequences of the US embargo, a string of European companies have recently announced they would scale back their business in Iran.
On Tuesday, German engineering group Bilfinger, said it did not plan to sign any new business in the country, while automotive supplier Duerr on Aug. 11 said it had halted activities in Iran.
Another project, planned by Norway’s Saga Energy, which said last October it aimed to build 2 GW of new solar energy capacity in Iran and to start construction by the end of 2018, has also stalled.
Saga Energy’s chief of operations Rune Haaland told Reuters it was still working on getting the funding, which is more complicated since recent developments, and although it aimed to push on with its plans, construction could be delayed. ($1 = 0.8773 euros)