Philippines to set rules on Islamic banking by year-end

Philippines to set rules on Islamic banking by year-end
New rules allowing for the expansion of the Islamic banking system by end of year. (Shutterstock)
Updated 06 November 2019

Philippines to set rules on Islamic banking by year-end

Philippines to set rules on Islamic banking by year-end
  • Foreign Islamic banks will also be allowed to operate

MANILA: The Philippines is aiming to introduce new rules allowing for the expansion of the Islamic banking system in the country by the end of the year, officials announced on Wednesday.

Chuchi Fonacier, deputy governor of the country’s central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), told Arab News that implementing the regulation and organization of Islamic banks was a “priority” in line with an act signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in August.

She said that the central bank envisioned “a regulatory regime that accommodates Islamic finance within a flexible but secular unitary framework.

“For example, the proposed licensing framework for Islamic banks will be anchored on the existing licensing framework for conventional banks with supplementary prudential requirements that recognize the inherent characteristics of Islamic banking and finance, particularly Shariah compliance.”

Fonacier pointed out that under the act, full-fledged Islamic banks or Islamic banking windows could operate in the Philippines, with the BSP “pushing for an open approach where conventional banks can operate Islamic banking windows or establish subsidiary Islamic banks.”

FASTFACTS

• Duterte’s act is expected to widen access to banking services for Filipino Muslims, including those in the Bangsamoro region. • Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank of the Philippines is currently the only Islamic bank operating in the country.

Foreign Islamic banks would also be allowed to operate in the country under the terms of amendments to another act liberalizing their entry and scope, she added.

Duterte’s act is expected to widen access to banking services for Filipino Muslims, including those in the Bangsamoro region.

BSP Gov. Benjamin Diokno hailed the signing of the new law, which he said would unlock the full potential of Islamic financing in fostering inclusive economic growth.

An interagency working group on Islamic banking and finance has been established to help develop the regulatory framework and new rules.

In the Philippines, the potential market for Islamic banking products mainly comprises the Muslim population, which accounts for about 10 percent of Filipinos.

However, the BSP said Islamic banking and finance could also be attractive to non-Muslims, particularly investors within or outside the Philippines.

Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank of the Philippines is currently the only Islamic bank operating in the country.


Samsung launches new flagship Galaxy S smartphone early, targets remote workers, gamers

This photo provided by Samsung shows the Galaxy S21. (Samsung via AP)
This photo provided by Samsung shows the Galaxy S21. (Samsung via AP)
Updated 15 January 2021

Samsung launches new flagship Galaxy S smartphone early, targets remote workers, gamers

This photo provided by Samsung shows the Galaxy S21. (Samsung via AP)
  • Samsung is set to release the S21 series at a cheaper rates
  • The series will be widely available starting Jan. 29 through Samsung.com, carriers and retailers online

SEOUL, South Korea: Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. on Thursday unveiled the first Galaxy S smartphone with a stylus for on-screen work called the S Pen, more than a month ahead of its usual annual release schedule for models of its flagship compact phone.
Analysts have said offering a stylus within the Galaxy S21 series might signal the South Korean tech giant will merge the S line with its other premium smartphone range, the Note, already equipped with a note-taking stylus. That could free up resources for Samsung to push its separate range high-end foldable phones as key mass products rather than niche devices.
Samsung is also looking to grab market share after China’s Huawei Technologies was hit with US sanctions that restricted its supply and hurt sales, analysts have said.
An early Galaxy S21 launch is a likely tactic to capitalize on Huawei’s woes, said Counterpoint Research analyst Sujeong Lim. New iterations of the Note typically come in the second half of the year.
Lim said Samsung faces intense competition in the high-end category from Chinese vendors amid growing demand for devices that can be used for remote work amid the coronavirus pandemic, as well as play like videogaming.
In the United States, the Galaxy S21 price range starts at $799.99, the S21 Plus version at $999.99, and the S21 Ultra at $1,199.99.
The series will be widely available starting Jan. 29 through Samsung.com, carriers and retailers online, Samsung said.
With the most advanced processing chip in any Galaxy device, the S21 is 5G compatible and designed for shooting and viewing video and images as well as on-screen work. The top end of the range, the Ultra — the only version compliant with the S Pen stylus, which has to be bought separately — sports a four-lens rear camera that allows different angles and zoom shots.
Samsung plans to offer the stylus with other devices, said TM Roh, head of Samsung’s mobile communications business.
The standard S21’s screen size is 6.2 inches, with the S21 Plus at 6.7 inches and S21 Ultra is 6.8 inches, optimal for watching videos and gaming. The latter two are close in size to last year’s Galaxy Note ‘phablets’ — a cross between a phone and a tablet.
The S21 series is powered by Qualcomm Inc’s Snapdragon 888 chips or Samsung’s own Exynos 2100 chips depending on the region, Samsung said. Qualcomm said last month the 5G chips will be manufactured by Samsung’s chipmaking division.