IFIL looks to grow through investments in sustainable, small businesses

Says its CEO Mohammed Mosharaf Hossain in an interview with the FE

| Updated: February 16, 2023 10:22:49

Mohammed Mosharaf Hossain Mohammed Mosharaf Hossain

Islamic Finance and Investment Limited (IFIL) has been giving priority to cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises (CMSME) in making sustainable and socially responsible investments for its future growth, said the top executive of the first-ever Shariah-based non-bank financial institution.

It aims to be a major contributor to the growth of deposit and investment market through innovative products, especially designed for small and medium businesses.

The non-bank financial institution has been playing an important role by implementing a comprehensive sustainable finance policy in every step of its organisational activities, said Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Mohammed Mosharaf Hossain.

In a recent interview with the FE at the IFIL office in the capital, he said the IFIL focuses on green finance, sustainable CMSMEs, sustainable agriculture, and socially-responsible investments as per the guidelines of the Bangladesh Bank.

In doing so, the non-bank financial institution has taken up a number of initiatives, including the establishment of a high-powered sustainable finance committee and a sustainable finance unit (SFU) to boost investments in those areas.

The CEO said green projects, for example on effluent treatment plant, renewable energy, clean water supply, bio-gas plant, waste (liquid and solid) management, environment-friendly brick production, and LED bulb/tube manufacturing/assembly plant are supported and financed by the IFIL.

Moreover, community investment for building climate resilience and disaster management at a concessional rate is a matter of high priority for the financial organisation, he said.

"IFIL is designing its entire business operation in such a way that it can avoid wastage of resources and promote sustainability."

IFIL is focusing on small deposits as well as small investments, Mr Hossain added.

The NBFI currently has investments concentrated mostly on housing and corporate. It said it did not have any specific business group investors or investments. The board maintains diversity and chairman gets appointed by rotation. Sponsor Director of Islamic Finance and Investment Limited is the incumbent chairman of the NBFI.

IFIL holds a good reputation and position among the NBFIs since its inception and is listed on both the Dhaka Stock Exchange and the Chittagong Stock Exchange having achieved good credit rating, EPS and provided good dividends to general shareholders, said Mr Hossain.

He said the IFIL moves slow and steadily. It is now going for expansion with an emphasis on branding so that people can know details about the country's first Shariah-based non-bank financial institution and its products, said the IFIL managing director.

He said the organisation offered dividends even during the pandemic.

The MD said the IFIL is sincerely working towards financing women entrepreneurs to empower them. To provide best services to women entrepreneurs and ensure their easy access to finance, the IFIL has already established "Women Entrepreneurs Development Unit" under which each branch has a "Dedicated Woman Entrepreneur Help Desk".

He said the NBFL also emphasizes the need for supporting new entrepreneurs, especially through giving out loans with flexible terms to start-ups. The IFIL prioritizes financing agro product processing units at rural and suburban areas for employment generation as per directives by the central bank, said Mr Hossain.

The IFIL is looking to bring some unique, easy and flexible products though it already has dozens of products, he said.

It began its operation in 2001. Current MD Mohammed Mosharaf Hossain joined Islamic Finance and Investment Limited (IFIL) in the current position in August last year. Before joining the IFIL, he was the managing director & CEO of First Finance Limited.

Mr Hossain started his career with Uttara Bank Ltd as a probationary officer in 1987 after obtaining an MCom degree in accounting at Dhaka University.

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