By OLUSHOLA BELLO, Lagos –
Managing director of Jaiz Bank Plc, Mr. Hassan Usman said many West African countries and companies may fall back on Sukuk bonds to raise non-interest funds to finance infrastructural development and corporate growth plans.
Usman said there could soon be a frenzy of Sukuk issuance in West Africa as more countries discover the potential of Sukuk as a major leverage for their national development. Nigeria recently issued its maiden sovereign Sukuk. Nigeria successfully raised N105 billion for its N100 billion Sukuk, raising optimism on the depth of the market.
Usman, who spoke at the two-day National Convention of the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic Abeokuta Muslim Alumni (MAPAMA) held in Lagos, said the envisaged scramble for Sukuk issuance in the nearest future could make the non-interest capital market grow bigger and faster than its banking counterpart.
According to him, non-interest banking (NIB) in West Africa has a lot of potential due to a number of positive indicators including the economic growth in many West African nations supported by improving fundamentals, growing domestic demand and stronger regional integration.
He added that with a population of about 329 million people, the emerging middle-class segment of the region is expected to boost demand for NIB retail banking, takaful and Islamic funds. He noted that with financial literacy improving across the region, greater understanding of the benefits and dynamics of NIB products shall usher in greater up-take of the products and help to deepen financial inclusion.
He pointed out that Islamic finance has a lot of opportunities for young
professionals and even those in mid-career, noting that Islamic finance system is a complete universe or ecosystem that goes beyond Islamic banks to include other areas such as Islamic capital market which has Sukuk as its most popular instrument, Takaful or Islamic insurance, Islamic wealth management and Islamic private equity.
According to him, as the market for Islamic Finance develops in Nigeria, each segment of the market will sprout out and branch out to provide potential career paths for young and middle-level professionals.
He outlined that specific specialised careers could include Sharia’ah advisory and auditing, Islamic treasury management, Islamic accounting and reporting, Islamic risk management, Islamic product development and Islamic asset management.
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