Ṣukūk: A Sharīʿah Compliant Tool for Financing Budget Deficits
journal of king Abdulaziz University Islamic Economics
The lead paper (Pettifor, 2019) discusses an important issue at the macroeconomic level, especially the impact of financing government's expansionary budget deficit through borrowing. The paper reiterates that claiming that the use of loans to finance the deficit will lead to a decline in the economic activity and will in turn increase the deficit, is a common misconception. In fact, the data on the British economy over a period of a hundred years, as shown in the lead paper, proves that there
... proves that there is a positive relationship between the volume of the budget deficit (and public debt) and economic activity. This, in turn, lead to a decrease in unemployment and thus, eventually contributed to a reduction in the budget deficit. These results have been proven by other researches as well as I have mentioned in this paper. I have also pointed to other researches which indicate that there is a negative relationship between the size of the debt (or the budget deficit), and economic activity, which contradicts the hypothesis of the lead paper. In this brief comment on the lead paper, I also discuss the fact that the global debt phenomenon has become a burning issue. I present a summary of the state of international debt around the world and discuss its impact on the economies of many countries that repay their debts in hard currencies. I argue that this situation must be taken into consideration when discussing the impact of borrowing to finance the government budget deficit to stimulate economic growth. I also propose that these effects on the borrowing economies should also be analyzed in the event that these international loans are in the form of Islamic instruments (ṣukūk) which are increasingly being used by some governments as a tool to finance their budget deficits, especially among the OIC countries. However, because it is a modern financing tool, several years need to pass before we can viably test the relationship between them and economic growth and the extent of their impact on key variables at the macro level of the economy.