The Dubai government plans to establish a centre that will develop standards for corporate governance based on Islamic values, guiding companies in both financial and non-financial activities.
The centre, to be opened in the second quarter of next year, is part of the emirate’s plans to become a hub for Islamic business in areas ranging from banking and insurance to food processing, tourism and education.
The standards will not be compulsory for firms but the centre will issue sharia-compliance certificates to companies and banks meeting them, said Ali Ibrahim, deputy director general for planning and development at Dubai’s Department of Economic Development.
The standards would cover issues such as corporate transparency and disclosure; certificates will not be issued for individual products, said Ibrahim, a member of the committee leading Dubai’s Islamic business efforts.
He did not elaborate on how the Islamic standards would differ from conventional standards of corporate best practice. It is believed to be one of the first times that a government is trying to formalise Islamic guidelines for the behaviour of corporations other than banks and insurers.
The bulk of demand for the centre’s services will come from United Arab Emirates firms, but over time the centre is expected to appeal to companies elsewhere, said Ibrahim, who is also a board member of Emaar Industries & Investments and Amlak Finance .
“The model will hopefully be universal and applicable to any company wishing to benefit from the standards.”