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29.12.2014

Bashkortostan considers outlook for the introduction of Islamic banks in Russia as favorable (Rustem Khamitov's interview to the magazine "Securities Market")

Rustem Khamitov, the Head of the Republic of Bashkortostan, told the magazine "Securities market" about the prospects and difficulties, concerned with the introduction of the Islamic finance industry in Russia.

- Mr. Khamitov, what do you think about the prospects for the development of Islamic finance industry in Russia?

- In my opinion, the question of Islamic finance is very topical for Russia, where, according to preliminary estimates, about 20 million Muslims live (it is more than 10 percent of the population). Today this area of cooperation with the Muslim world is very promising, especially in the current geopolitical situation and in the context of introducing anti-Russian sanctions, which have affected the banking sector. It's good money: some experts estimate the Islamic finance market in more than 1.5 trillion dollars.

We need to understand that this banking system is not traditional as Europe sees it. There is no interests, no jobbery, because Islam prohibits usury. In fact, it is a project investment: banks give no credit to organizations and entrepreneurs, but invest in a business project and receive a share in it, taking into account all the risks. Therefore, if the project will be successful, the bank will make a profit. If it will not, the bank will lose money.

The introduction of an Islamic bank in Russia, for example in Bashkortostan, would help to involve new foreign investors, who prefer to work, keeping Muslim rules. This model is ideal for the development of small business, new plants and farms.

I should mention that banking sector in our Republic is very stable and ready to work in the new, more difficult conditions. The introduction of Islamic banks would supplement a variety of Bashkortostan financial services, and it would be an important contribution to the economic development of the region.

- What problems may arise during the organization of the Islamic finance industry?

- It is early now to talk about the wide spread of such financial institutions. The question is that there is no regulatory framework in the Russian Legislation, which would set specific requirements for the Islamic banks. For example, under the current legislation banks can not lend money without interests. But Islam prohibits such income. In other words, Islamic financial institutions should manage to earn incomes both for themselves and for their investors, while not being bound to any interest in the relationship with clients, or with other banks. So it is a big problem: how to do it the current situation. Another problem is that people know nothing about this kind of system, about principles of Islamic financing. That directly affects the demand.

- Do you plan to support the organization of the Islamic finance industry? In what way, if you do?

- Recently Elvira Nabiullina, the Head of the Central Bank of Russia and our compatriot, have said that the question on introduction of Islamic banking regulation in Russia is studied. This is a big step forward. I cannot but say that Islamic banking is successfully developing in Europe, where it is used by people of different confession, not only Muslims. It would be great if it will take place in the Russian financial market. For our part we are ready to assist such structures with all matters.

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