The Islamic finance industry in the sultanate can play an integral role in building the nation towards a more sustainable and green economy by financing environmentally-friendly investments that ensure environmental protection and meet global environmental challenges. 

This was said by the Minister of Home Affairs, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Abu Bakar Hj Apong during his keynote address on the first day of the Brunei Islamic Capital Market Conference (BICAM 2021) on Wednesday. 

Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat

Speaking in his capacity as the Deputy Chairman of the Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) the minister highlighted how pillars of Maqasid Al-Syariah, known as the objectives of Syariah in Islamic finance naturally advocates for resilience, sustainability and inclusivity.

“With its positive values and ethical consideration, Islamic finance can support an economic growth that is both inclusive and environmentally sound. Ultimately, we must aim to build shared and sustainable prosperity that can benefit future generations,” he explained. 

YB Pehin Hj Abu Bakar then noted how there has been growing interest in the need to have a greener and more resilient post-COVID-19 economic recovery which has provided the world opportunities and aspirations for a “clean, climate-friendly and socially inclusive future”. 

Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat

Citing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were set up during the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in 2015, the minister stressed the urgency for the world to meet these goals.

“According to the UN, the world is expected to invest up to USD$90 trillion worth of infrastructure by 2030. Indeed the clock is ticking to meet these goals,” he explained. 

Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat

“Collective, comprehensive and innovative approaches to finance the SDGs are required such as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing that intentionally seeks to create both financial returns and positive social or environmental impact,” he added. 

Fortunately, the minister continued, Islamic finance shared similar underlying principles as sustainable finance which include financial stability, economic growth, poverty alleviation, wealth distribution, financial and social inclusion as well as environmental preservation. 

“The very fact that Islamic finance has a risk-sharing feature and must align itself with the Maqasid Al-Syariah or the objectives of Syariah means that ESG values are integrated, making it a naturally sustainable financial system,” YB Pehin Hj Abu Bakar said. 

In line with this, the minister then called for a more diverse set of financial instruments in the local market in line with the Maqasid Al-Syariah. 

Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat

“Thus I believe that more innovative solutions in Islamic finance, including the Islamic Capital Market, can be explored to serve this purpose in our nation,” the minister went on to say. 

Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat

“It is no doubt that Islamic finance instruments will continue to gain further traction in supporting the global sustainable agenda,” he added. 

BICAM 2021 is held to support the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism’s (MPRT) Brunei Mid-Year Conference and Exhibition (MYCE) event, specifically in the first week of the month-long event, carrying the theme “Islamic Week”.

This article was first published on June 5, 2021 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 144

THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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