By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – The Department of Finance has committed to devolve the operations of the Amanah Islamic Bank (AIB) to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
BARMM’s Minister of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) Naguib Sinarimbo announced the good news in a brief report he posted online Tuesday about his “very cordial” meeting a day earlier with DOF Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez in Metro Manila.
“(BARMM Finance) Minister Ed Guerra and I met yesterday (Monday) with Finance Secretary Dominguez at his office inside the Bangko Sentral compound (in Manila)…(and) we discussed a range of issues from the operationalization of the Inter-Governmental Fiscal Policy Board (IGFP) to taxes and revenues sharing between the Bangsamoro and the national government,” Sinarimbo said.
The IGFP, a body stipulated under the BARMM charter to oversee fiscal dealings between the Bangsamoro entity and the national government, is reportedly on the verge of final completion this year with help from regional and national financial experts.
“To be candid, we were impressed by the creativity of the design and the amount of time he spent with us (in three hours),” Sinarimbo said, referring to Sec. Dominguez.
He said Sec. Dominguez “committed to help us (in the BARMM fiscal operations) and promised to even hand over to us the Al Amanah Islamic Bank (AIB).
The AIB was created during the Marcos administration but due to some technicalities and lack of substantial capital, the AIB has not been fully and beneficially operating, former officials of the bank said.
They said Congress is now deliberating on a bill on the adoption of Islamic banking in the Philippines amid news reports that even non-Muslim global economies had found interest in adopting it.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) met and discussed recently the potentials of the pending approval of the bill docketed as House Bill 8281, NCMF spokesperson Jun Alonto-Datu Ramos said.
During Monday’s meeting, Minister Sinarimbo said Secretary Dominguez also approved the BARMM government’s request for a waiver of the taxes and duties for the equipment grant of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to the Bangsamoro governance.
Sinarimbo said the JICA-granted equipment pool consists of well-drilling machines for water supply projects and Technical skills education development training machines.
“The amount of taxes and the duties (accruing to the donated machines) are substantial,” he said.