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Egypt's president signs Islamic bonds bill into law

Mohamed Morsi approves law allowing the Egyptian government to issue Islamic bonds, or sukuk

Reuters, Thursday 9 May 2013
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Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi has approved a law allowing the state to issue Islamic bonds, the official gazette said Wednesday, ending a troubled passage for a bill the government hopes will help revive its flagging finances.

Egypt's upper house of parliament, the Shura Council, which has assumed temporary legislative powers, approved the law last week after amending it to meet recommendations from Al-Azhar, the country's leading Islamic authority.

The Islamist-led government hopes the law will allow it to tap billions from the Islamic bond, or sukuk, market and bolster state finances hammered in the two years since an uprising ousted former president Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt's official gazette said the law had been approved by Morsi and would go into effect Wednesday. Regulations for using the law would be issued within three months, it added.

Lawmakers had approved the law in March, but Al-Azhar objected, saying its top scholars should have been consulted on the law as stated in the new Islamic-leaning constitution.

Al-Azhar said this month it had given its approval for the law on condition that certain articles be amended. It is not clear whether the law had been sent to Al-Azhar for approval again or not.

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