Senior Director and Head of Treasury and Financial Institutions of the African Finance Corporation, (AFC), Mr. Banji Fehintola, has said that standardization and increased awareness are part of key elements that will facilitate the growth of Islamic finance industry in Nigeria. He stated this on a Proshare WebTV program, “Islamic Finance Weekly.”
According to him, from a global perspective, Islamic finance still suffers from standardization problems preventing it from issuing conventional Eurobonds. He also noted that the issue of premium must be addressed effectively to increase the awareness about the Islamic financial assets in the country.
He said Islamic Finance had the potential of becoming widely accepted in the global financial market as a viable source of financing in the years to come as it is more resilient and can absorb economic shocks much better than conventional finance.
.He also called for increased awareness of Islamic finance in the country, through conferences, seminars, research reports, and media coverage of the industry.
Fehintola emphasized the need for Nigerians to understand the value and provisions of the product, which, according to him, is geared towards deepening financial inclusion and driving economic prosperity in the country.
Commenting on Sukuk that have been issued to the tune of N200 billion by the country in the past two years, he said they were successful. Sukuk issuance is a positive development in terms of deepening the local capital market, he argued.
He commended the Federal Government of Nigeria for taking the lead in adopting Islamic financial products in the country.
“Nigeria has taken a great step forward in terms of issuing Sukuk. The government is planning to debut the third round of Sukuk. He hoped that over time the country will see more corporate Sukuk issuances,” Fehintola said.
On the issue of foreign-denominated Sukuks, he identified Luxembourg, United Kingdom, and South Africa as nations that have already taken the lead.
He also said the AFC has been at the forefront of pushing and tapping into the liquidity provided by Islamic financial assets.