Islamic banking operates in line with Sharia law that prohibits the charging of interest and speculation
Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Secretary-General of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, Alhajji Ramadhan Mugalu has asked the government to expedite the implementation of Islamic banking.
Speaking at the Gaddafi National Mosque in Kampala on Tuesday during the Eid al-Adha prayers, Mugalu decried the delayed implementation of Islamic banking in the country which is provided for in the Financial Institutions (Amendment) Act, 2016. The law also provides for the establishment of the Central Sharia Advisory Board in the Central Bank.
Islamic banking operates in line with Sharia law that prohibits the charging of interest and speculation.
According to Mugalu, if implemented, Islamic banking would help several people during the current difficulties in the economy caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. He says that the Muslim community has the necessary experts to sit on the Council to govern Islamic banking but the Bank of Uganda is still dragging its feet.
Parliament early this year tasked the Finance Minister Matia Kasaija to explain the delayed implementation of Islamic banking. Kasaija said that they were also concerned but the law requires that there must be a council that will govern Islamic banking. He said that they have been trying to look for qualified people to sit on the Council but Uganda doesn’t have that kind of personnel.
“We thought about recruiting from abroad. But I think now, we are going to amend the law so that we remove that provision because it will not make much difference. I will be coming to parliament any moment to amend the law so that we remove that provision then we move ahead with Islamic banking,” said Kasaija.
However, Parliament then chaired by former Speaker Rebecca Kadaga protested Minister Kasaija’s statement saying that there are qualified people who are available and very conversant with Islamic banking as well as Sharia.
Parliament then advised the Minister to consult Muslim leaders on the personnel and Kasaija noted that he would work with the Bank of Uganda to ensure that qualified people are sought out.
Other African countries that have adopted Islamic banking but are non-Islamic states include South Africa, Senegal, Botswana, Zambia, Eritrea, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.
Mugalu also appealed to the government to fulfil its pledge of renovating the Gaddafi National Mosque. He said that the Muslim leadership had been previously assured that the renovation works would be completed this year but these are even yet to start.
In November 2016, while speaking at the inauguration of newly elected Muslim leaders, President Yoweri Museveni said that the Uganda People’s Defense Forces- UPDF Engineering Brigade would undertake the renovation of the National Mosque at Old Kampala.
Museveni then said that this move is aimed at maintaining the Mosque in its proper shape like it was built by the late Libyan leader, President Muammar Gaddafi. Museveni noted the visible cracks that are emerging on the mosque and said that it would be easier and cheaper for the UPDF team to work on the structure.
The President pledged to have a team from the UPDF engineering brigade visit the mosque immediately to ascertain what is needed to carry out the renovations.