The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), on Tuesday in Lagos promised to continue partnering market stakeholders for the development of a robust Islamic Finance sector in the country.
Speaking in Lagos at the opening of the Islamic Finance Network (IFN) Forum, Oscar Onyema, Chief Executive of the NSE, noted that Islamic Finance today “represents a turning point and a new paradigm for the financing of infrastructure in this country.”
This, he said has resulted in the noticeable growth of the sector globally over the years, especially between 2016 and last year.
Onyema, who was represented by Jude Chiemeka, Divisional Head, Trading Business, of the NSE noted that in the two year period, the sector soared from about $1.5tr to $2tr, “driven by growth in Islamic Banking assets as well as growth in Sukuk issuances.”
Unfortunately, he continued, the growth has largely been concentrated within the Gulf region and in Asia, even as “recent data suggest that Islamic financing is beginning to take root in Africa, with issuers across the Gambia, Sudan, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Togo, as well as Nigeria in more recent times.”
He noted the numerous opportunities offered by the Islamic Finance sector for enhancing the nation’s economic fortunes, adding that Islamic Finance presents opportunities to unlock the dormant pools of capital present within the country.
“In particular, adherents to the Islamic faith are prohibited from investing in non-Shar’iah-compliant investments which within the domestic economy, eliminates this demography from participating in capital market activities, and further serves to undermine the level of savings needed for capital formation. Also, the development of a viable Islamic Economy in Nigeria has far-reaching implications within global markets, for investment managers seeking to achieve portfolio diversification. The ability for fund managers seeking Shari’ah-compliant investment products to diversify into our markets facilitates more foreign inflows which has implications for the economy via the attraction of low-cost funds for development.”
Nigeria, he continued has also not been left behind with recent forage into the Islamic Finance pool for projects financing by the Osun State government which issued an N11.4bn, 7-year Sukuk instrument used to finance the construction and rehabilitation of 27 schools in the state in 2013.
This was followed by the Debt Management Office’s diversification strategy which involved the issuance of two N100bn tranches of Federal Government of Nigeria Sukuk instruments to finance the maintenance and construction of critical road infrastructure across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Both instruments, he continued, “were a huge success and widely accepted by the capital market community in Nigeria.
The NSE boss further promised to promote the growth of the sector in line with the SEC’s Non-Interest Capital Markets Product Master Plan, which has identified five strategic pillars, such as “a strong regulatory framework, capacity building, product development, robust primary and secondary markets, and market awareness programs such as these.
“We have already started executing on these pillars and recently hosted a training exercise for the market. We will also continue to provide an efficient and liquid market for investors and businesses in Africa, to save and access capital. We promise to continue our collaboration with all market stakeholders, to collectively contribute towards the enhancement of this new asset class, and ultimately towards the growth Islamic Finance in Nigeria and Africa at large,” he stressed further.
He applauded the efforts of various stakeholders including the Federal Government, DMO, the SEC and the National Pension Commission “for showing unwavering commitment to the deepening and growth of Islamic Finance in Nigeria.”
Domestic and international partners, he noted, have also “worked assiduously to ensure the success of this Inaugural IFN Nigeria Forum. Finally, we would like to thank the audience and the various market stakeholders here present for their tirelessness and dedication towards the birthing of this novel initiative in our markets.”
Photo Caption: From left: Jude Chiemeka, Divisional Head, Trading Business, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE); Mrs. Patience Oniha, Director General, Debt Management Office; Hajara Adeola, Managing Director/CEO, Lotus Capital and Andrew Morgan, Managing Director/CEO, REDmoney, during the Inaugural Islamic Finance News (IFN) Nigeria Forum in Lagos on Tuesday, June 18, 2019.