The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has severely affected national and global economies. Various business/enterprises are facing a variety of problems such as a decrease in demand, supply chain disruptions, cancellation of export orders, raw material shortage, and transportation disruptions, among others. Nevertheless, it is quite clear that businesses/enterprises around the globe are experiencing the significant impact of COVID-19 outbreak on their businesses. We argue that major victims of COVID-19 outbreak are the micro, small & medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) because MSMEs, in comparison to large enterprises, usually do not possess sufficient resources, especially financial and managerial, and are not prepared for such disruptions likely to go longer than expected.
According to a recent report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) (UNCTAD, 2020a), Pakistan would be hardest-hit by the global pandemic of COVID-19. This Conference aims to assess the impact of COVID-19 outbreak on these businesses and provide policy recommendations to help MSMEs in reducing business losses and survive through the crisis. It is argued that, Islamic banks are unable to cater to the micro-entrepreneurs, marginalized clients including small and landless farmers, and hence unable to contribute towards the socioeconomic wellbeing of the society.
Therefore, the time has now come for the Islamic banks in Pakistan to ponder upon the wellbeing of the marginalized people of the society and to help them keep away from Riba which is prohibited in the Holy book of glorious Quran by offering the Islamic financial products through existing Islamic banks and establishing new Islamic Micro financing banks for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) that will contribute towards the objective of poverty alleviation, generate employment opportunities and enhance economic growth in the country through inclusive Islamic financial products.
So, with this perspective and with an objective to enhance research opportunities in general, and to reduce the gap between academia and industry in particular, the Institute of Business Management (IoBM) is going to organize the 4th (Virtual) International Conference on Islamic Banking and Finance (ICIBF-2020).