The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, has re-affirmed federal government toward broaden the nation’s economics with Islamic banking as Nigeria’s involvement in global Islamic economy has hit a milestone, according to the latest State of the Global Islamic Economy Report (SGIE) conducted by DinarStandard which revealed that the country now ranks 13th among top 15 countries on Global Islamic Economic Indicator (GIEI).
Malaysia leads the overall Global Islamic Economic Indicator (GIEI) rankings for eighth year. This year saw Saudi Arabia move up to the second position, with UEA and Indonesia following. New entrants to the top 15 include Nigeria, Sri Lanka, and Singapore. Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Pakistan, Iran, Qatar, Oman, and Turkey complete the top 15. Brunei, Sudan and Bangladesh moved out of the top 15.
Speaking at the launching of SGIE report yesterday in Abuja, Ahmed described Islamic economics as a viable option to encourage domestic investments in a larger economy like Nigeria with large deficit infrastructure and deficit in development.
She said, “We will continue to find and look for options to broaden our economy in a manner that would enable us to grow on a sustainable basis that is inclusive and would not leave any one behind. We have taken a number of steps and one of the steps is our membership of Islamic Development Bank.
“Today, Nigeria is the fourth largest investor in the Islamic Development Bank and we were there to be able to assess financing and in some cases grants for some of our major capital projects. This membership of Islamic Development Bank also gave us the opportunity to interact with the organisation of Islamic communities and there are a lot of advantages in doing that.
“Here at home, we have explored Islamic banking and today we have Jaiz Bank and now Taj Bank, as well as Fidelity Bank which also has Islamic banking facilities. Other banks are considering that option too.
“This is important because over time Islamic communities have been excluded from financing opportunities because the Islamic communities do not want interest in varied elements but now there are options that are available. There is also Ijarah which is another option for insurance and it is Islamic compliance.
“More recently the federal government of Nigeria has been issuing Sukuk funds. We have issued the third round of Sukuk in 2020 and they have become extremely popular. We set out to raise N162billion, but we ended up realising about N460billion. It is an indication that domestic resources are looking for investments that are right for Islamic segment of our society.”