KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 — Souqa Fintech Sdn Bhd, the operator of Shariah-compliant payment gateway PayHalal, has set its sights on Indonesia by partnering with Jakarta-based PT Kirana Investama Nusantara.

The investment firm, partially owned by non-governmental organisation Yayasan Desa Emas Indonesia, also runs the government-backed village-centric industry programme Gerakan Desa Emas or locally known as Desa Emas.

The partnership will enable both entities to operate PayHalal in enhancing the Desa Emas initiative by providing a range of Shariah-compliant online platforms including for payment services, payment collection products and e-commerce market services to participating entrepreneurs.  

In a statement today, Souqa Fintech group chief executive officer Datuk Badlisyah Abdul Ghani commended Desa Emas’ success at running a programme that uplifts local businesses in about 800 villages currently.

“With PayHalal, it is hoped that these industry players will seize the opportunity to further promote their products via an already Shariah-compliant payment gateway and e-commerce market,” he said.

He expressed optimism that PayHalal would be able to expand beyond Desa Emas in the future into the larger Indonesian market of 270 million people of whom 87 per cent are Muslims, and that demand from Muslim consumers will over time organically develop the market-driven Halal products and services sector.

“Taking into account Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s serious undertaking to develop Indonesia’s Halal industry at large, we are poised and confident PayHalal will play an active role in its development as a Shariah-compliant financial service provider,” he said.

In fact, he said Indonesia was ranked 10th in the Global Islamic Economy Indicator (GIEI) last year, improving its footing in the modest fashion segment but still lacking in others such as Islamic finance, Halal food, Halal pharmaceuticals and cosmetics as well as Halal travel.

Jakarta has since showed its commitment to better regulate and boost their Halal industry with the country’s top leaders making it a priority.

The Indonesian President has also signed the Government Regulation for the implementation of the Halal Product Assurance Law, which states that all products that enter and are circulated and traded in Indonesia must be Halal-certified, he added.

Besides the payment gateway, Badlisyah said PayHalal could also look into the possibility of providing Shariah-compliant financial products in Indonesia in the future.

He noted that Indonesian Vice President Ma’aruf Amin has stated that the government would mend the legal framework on the development of Shariah finance to unlock the untapped potential of the sector, under the newly established National Committee for Sharia Finance.

— BERNAMA

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