Dr. Mohd Daud Bakar on ‘Big Picture Mentality in Islamic Finance’

In this world, we have two options, basically.

We could be very much of big picture mentality or we could be very much focused on small, small things; technical aspect of things.

We can be very technical, we can be very literalist, or we can be a bit above the board to see the issues at hand from the overall perspective – if you like, from the 360-degree perspective, helicopter view of any issue that we are faced with.

Some people, they like to be very literalist and very technical and they are very much motivated to examine, to argue and debate on the very technicalities of things; 1+1 should be 2.

This is not wrong, to be honest, but in some cases, we have to be above that kind of mathematics because mathematics does not solve all the problems.

We have to bring the art and the science to the whole discussion.

So, having a big picture mentality would help a lot Islamic banking and finance; a government issuing a sukuk, for infrastructure financing, for 10 years or 20 years – and of course technically speaking, this infrastructure financing will not be able to generate instant cash flow and profitability to the sukuk investors, so how could we issue sukuk for project financing which is long term financing.

But this is very much technical, but from the bigger and from the wider perspective, this is good for both the issuer, the government issuing sukuk and the investor because the investors are putting their money to help the government to perhaps manage the budget deficit as well as to allow the government to tap into Islamic liquidity in the local market as well as at the international market.

This is the big picture mentality helping both the stakeholders, the government, the sovereign and the Islamic investor coming in to support the project financing because that will help the government to get the money though they might put some cashflow, somewhere, somehow, from different project, to pay back the coupon of the sukuk.

Don’t look into the technicalities and try to be above the board and try to have a big picture mentality to support the Islamic finance agenda, in some of the relevant cases to push the agenda and to make sure that we are having the winning agenda all the time.

A small mind cannot solve all the problems – you have to have a big picture mentality to put the right policies and the right strategic mind to make the Shariah finance the mainstream of Islamic finance for the whole world.

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