AMIN Study Tour: In the Footsteps of Financial Inclusion Out of Poverty

AMIN Study Tour: In the Footsteps of Financial Inclusion Out of Poverty
by Cong Sitti Djalia Turabin Hataman, Member, ICIFE Eminent International Advisory Board

Since its birth in 1997, AMIN Anak Mindanao consistently pursued peace and development in  Mindanao through community and peoples’ engagement. We respond to the needs of the region and its people by working both at the policy level through its Representatives in Congress and actual implementation of various development work through our partner and member organizations and individuals at the grassroots.

As part of its anti-poverty efforts, AMIN for the last three years explored different institutions and mechanisms that proved effective in contributing to the decrease of poverty incidence in other countries, looking into best practices that can be replicated in our own. We focused on Malaysia, being a neighbor ASEAN country with a remarkable story of bringing down to almost zero the number of poor households. From 37.4% in the 1980s, poverty incidence dropped to 1.7% in 2012 then in 2014 it was at its lowest with 0.6%. Official statistics also showed that the number of Malaysia’s poor households reduced by 52.7% from 2009 to 2012, a span of only 3 years.

What contributed to Malaysia’s success in addressing poverty? In our study of the Malaysia experience, a dynamic financial ecosystem composed of government and non-government institutions, providing innovative, responsive and efficient financial services, supported by community and household-based mechanisms facilitated an environment of financial inclusion that opened the door for many families out of poverty.

To share these learnings with different stakeholders in the country, Anak Mindanao, in coordination with the International Council of Islamic Finance Educators, with support from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, facilitated a study tour in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia from October 17-23, 2016. This study tour visited institutions that became instrumental in creating the environment that proved effective for poverty reduction in Malaysia. The focus is not just on how they contributed individually, but also their inter-connectedness, deliberate and otherwise, that provided a comprehensive financial support system. The objective was to learn and recognize mechanisms, modalities and practices pioneered by these institutions, applicable in the country as an innovation or as an improvement or complementary to existing institutions and programs.

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Furthermore, as part of AMIN’s advocacy for Islamic Finance as an instrument of financial inclusion towards addressing poverty not just for Muslim Filipinos but for the entire country, the study tour gave emphasis, but not exclusively focused on Islamic Finance.

Itinerary of the study tour included:

1.) Maybank – one of the biggest conventional banks in Asia but also a pioneer in Islamic banking

2.) Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia – the largest microfinance institution in Malaysia, and is recognized to be a key player in alleviating poverty especially among women;

3.) Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) – a Malaysian government agency formed in 1966, to aid, train and guide Bumiputra (Malays and other indigenous Malaysians) in the areas of Business and Industry;

4.) AKPK (Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Kredit) – a Credit Counselling and Debt Management agency set up by Bank Negara Malaysia (Central Bank of Malaysia) in April 2006 to help individuals take control of their financial situation and gain knowledge on the wise use of credit;

5.) ICIFE (International Council of Islamic Finance Educators) – an international body that provide education in the field of Islamic Finance by providing curriculum development, course modules, dialogues and workshops, trainings, database and accreditation in Malaysia and other parts of the world.

6.) USIM (Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia) – an educational institution that supports capacity building of microfinance clients. Their intervention include entrepreneurial skills trainings, financial literacy, product research and development for SMEs, and others;

These institutions – from the banks that provide financing to facilitate economic activity, to a successful microfinance practice, an accessible institutionalized financial literacy and credit/debt management mechanism, supported by capacity-building programs for both service-providers and clients, and a think tank that provides scientific analysis of the overall financial industry – make up a financial inclusion ecosystem that has been proven and is therefore needed to win our fight against poverty.

Participants to the study tour were:
1. MR. WILFREDO A. CAINGLET, JR.
Committee Secretary

Committee on Muslim Affairs, House of Representatives

2. ATTY. RAMON FEDERIZON
Committee Secretary

Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries, House of Representatives

3. MS. CECILIA DE JESUS LEE
Supervising Legislative Officer II

Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries, House of Representatives

4. ATTY. MAISARA DANDAMUN-LATIPH
Senior Solicitor General

Office of the Solicitor General

5. MS. MARIA LUISA O. NIEVA
Deputy Director and Head
Trust Specialist Group

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

6. MS. NAHDA A. KAHBATA

Liwanag ng Kapayapaan Foundation

7. Ma. Teresa Ciocon

Liwanag ng Kapayapaan Foundation

8. MS. NORHAIYA D. MACUSANG
Advocacy Officer

Anak Mindanao sa Kongreso

9. HON. AMIHILDA J. SANGCOPAN
Regional Secretary

Department of Agrarian Reform, ARMM

10. HON. ALEEM SIDDIQUI M. GUIAPAL
Executive Director

Regional Economic Zone Authority, ARMM

11. MS. NURON RAHMA SANGCOPAN

Department of Agrarian Reform, ARMM

12. HON. DIMNATANG M. RADIA, CESO V
Regional Administrator

Cooperative Development Authority, ARMM

13. MR. SAIDAMEN R. MAMBAYAO
Systems Analyst and Cooperative Project Development and Assistance Unit Head

CDA-ARMM

14. MS. MAILYN MACUSANG
Board of Trustees

Anak Mindanao Foundation

15. MS. JASMIN J. TEODORO
Executive Director

Pinay Kilos

16. MS. EDNA ARNOCO YURONG

Member, AMIN People’s Council

17. MS. SHIELA MYRA B. ABDULMAJID
Political Affairs Officer II
Office of AMIN Rep. Makmod Mending, Jr.

House of Representatives

18. MR. RONELLE PAMA
Branch Manager

Rural Bank of Manolo Fortich

19. MS. HANNAH SAAVEDRA STRAVER
CEO

Growrite Substrates Philippines

20. MS. ARADELRIA BELLENG
Social Services Officer

AMIN sa Kongreso

Immediate plans of action as output of the study tour include: lobby and technical support to the Islamic Banking Bill; organizational partnerships for community financial literacy programs; roadmap for Islamic microfinance; proposed incorporation of Islamic Finance ecosystem towards poverty reduction in the ARMM Regional Development Agenda 2016-2019; proposed inclusion of Islamic Finance Development Strategy in the MTPDP (Medium Term Philippine Development Plan) 2016-2022; development of modules for Islamic Finance education, and others.

The study tour also aims to address the human resource gap in Islamic Finance as a contribution to the Philippines Development Plan 2011-2016 which identified the development of Islamic finance framework as one of its priorities.

The participants received their Certificates of Completion from AMIN Rep. Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman and Dr Hazi Zulkifly  Baharom, Project Director &  Head Secretariat of ICIFE last November 29, 2016.

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2017-03-28T10:49:24+00:00

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