The National Committee for Sharia Finance (KNKS) is focusing on boosting the real sharia sector instead of developing sharia finance products in a bid to raise the demand for sharia financing.
KNKS secretary Bambang P. S. Brodjonegoro — who is also the National Development Planning Board Minister — said the committee would develop halal food, sharia fashion and sharia tourism. It would also optimize the usage of social funds such as zakat (alms), waqf (Islamic endowment) and haj funds to support grass-roots economies.
"Prior to this, we only focused on creating new products for the sharia financial services. However, we also realize that the financial sector cannot grow on the absence of real sector growth," he said at the Indonesian Islamic Economy Expert Association (IAEI) in Jakarta on Friday.
The economic development model will be based on what has been applied in some pesantren (Islamic boarding schools). Several pesantren, such as Sidogiri in East Java, have successfully developed microfinance institutions for its students.
Sidogiri’s sharia cooperation as a microfinance institution now has total assets of Rp 1.8 trillion (US$135 million) with financial turnover of Rp 18 trillion.
"We have to develop entrepreneurship among the Muslim community,” Bambang said. (ags)