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SEC Vows to Make Islamic Capital Market Attractive in Nigeria

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Islamic Capital Market

By Dipo Olowookere

Those who wish to explore the Islamic capital market in Nigeria have been assured of an attractive enabling environment by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

According to the Director-General of SEC, Mr Lamido Yuguda, efforts are being made to work with relevant stakeholders to implement recommendations for the non-interest capital market sector in line with the objectives of the 10-year Nigerian Capital Market Master plan (2015-2025), which include developing the segment of the market to contribute at least 25 per cent of the overall capital market capitalisation by 2025, with Sukuk contributing 15 per cent of outstanding bond issuances.

Mr Yuguda, who spoke at the 2021 African International Conference on Islamic Finance held in Abuja on Wednesday, stated that Islamic finance instruments are globally recognized as acceptable securities, with less Value-at-Risk due to their asset-based and project-tied investment features.

He noted that due to this, the sector offers financial products that are safe, competitive and attractive, adding that many jurisdictions have realised the potentials in Islamic finance and have positioned themselves to tap the potential benefit of such financing.

“It is noteworthy that since Islamic finance heavily relies on the Islamic capital market (ICM) as an investable outlet, products such as Sukuk (Islamic bond), Islamic REITs (I-REITS), Islamic Funds (I-Funds) and Exchange-mirrored Traded Funds (Islamic Equity Index) could all be offered for the purpose of financing infrastructure,” the SEC chief, who was represented by the Executive Commissioner Corporate Services SEC, Mr Ibrahim Boyi, submitted.

At the event themed Infrastructure Financing, Sustainability, and the Future of African Markets 2.0, he further stated that, “Sukuk issuances are increasingly gaining significance as a veritable mode of infrastructure financing.

“Consequently, a number of countries in the Sub-Saharan region of the continent; Sudan, Gambia, Senegal, South Africa, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Mali, and Togo, have issued sovereign Sukuks to finance infrastructure.”

“For example, we have reviewed existing regulatory frameworks and introduced new ones. In particular, we issued rules on Islamic Fund Management as well as on Sukuk issuance.

“These two legal frameworks have encouraged Islamic product innovation with the registration of ten ethical/shariah compliant funds and the issuance of Nigeria’s sub-national Ijara Sukuk by the Osun State government in 2013, which was oversubscribed.

“Also, the federal government, through the Debt Management Office (DMO) has so far issued Ijara Sukuk in excess of N350 billion within the last 3 years. The funds were used to construct and rehabilitate infrastructure development projects across the six geo-political zones of the country.”

He noted that the agency recently approved a N30 billion corporate Sukuk programme and a N10 billion series issuance under the programme. This marks the first corporate Sukuk issuance to the public; commendably, the proceeds are to be used to finance housing infrastructure.

Similar to the sovereign issuances, the corporate issuance was also oversubscribed.  The issuance was a landmark in the Market and we are confident that more corporates will begin to access the market.

According to him, the theme of this year’s conference resonates with a core function of the capital market as the market plays a crucial role in enabling access to medium and long term financing which is better suited to infrastructural development.

“According to the AfDB, Africa requires an annual investment of between $130 and $170 billion annually in infrastructure to reduce its infrastructure deficit. While according to the Global Infrastructure Hub (2020), Africa required an infrastructure investment of $184.03 billion in 2019 and $190.1 billion in 2020 to close its infrastructure deficits.

“The African continent continues to be challenged by deficits in infrastructure with governments being the major financier of infrastructure. Regrettably, governments’ efforts to finance the sector is constrained by large deficits in the budget, rising public debt and debt sustainability concerns,” he said.

He disclosed that the commission was also considering modalities to constitute a Sharia Advisory Council as a body of experts to advise the SEC and the market on non-interest products and their applications.

“Going forward, our focus will be on public enlightenment to encourage sub-national and corporate issuances and stronger capacity building initiatives. This is what informed the idea of hosting 3 webinars on non-interest capital market products in 2021 and more will be organised next year.

“We hope that the State governments represented here will take advantage of this important opportunity to familiarize themselves with the kind of products that can be issued and how to leverage this exciting area of finance to better the lives of our citizens.”

He reiterated the SEC’s commitment to continue to identify ways of using Non-Interest capital market products such as Sukuk as a tool for financing infrastructural development.

“We are committed to facilitating the growth of the non-interest capital market segment through innovation whilst ensuring a fair, efficient and transparent market.

“We will continue to put in place clear and consistently applied regulatory frameworks and reduce regulatory and operational impediments to engender the smooth functioning of the market,” he added.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Economy

Ellah Lakes, Enugu Government Seal Rice Processing Deal

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Ellah Lakes

By Dipo Olowookere

A Nigerian agribusiness company, Ellah Lakes Plc, has sealed an agreement with the Enugu State government for the processing of rice aimed to improve food security in the state and the nation at large.

The chief executive of the firm, Mr Chuka Mordi, described the deal as “a significant landmark for the company in fulfilling our strategic objective of diversifying our portfolio and production base.”

Ellah Lakes said in a statement that with the partnership, it will transform the Ada Rice Company and Plantation in Adani, Uzo-Uwani LGA, into a Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) in Enugu State.

This is expected to create not less than 5,000 jobs over the next 24 months as the company will have the opportunity to establish a feed mill and ethanol processing plant on the site in Adani.

Business Post reports that Adani community is well-known for the cultivation and production of rice but due to poor infrastructure and support of the government, it has suffered low patronage.

This partnership between the Enugu State government and Ellah Lakes should change the narrative for good and boost local production of rice.

In the statement issued on Wednesday by Ellah Lakes, a company listed on the trading platform of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, work is scheduled to begin immediately in Adani.

“Ellah Lakes is happy to announce that it has entered into an agreement with the Enugu State Government, through the Enugu State Technical Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation, for the expansion and further development of the Ada Rice Company and plantation in Adani, Uzo-Uwani LGA, into a Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) in Enugu State, Nigeria.

“Ellah Lakes will produce and process rice with the participation of over 200 indigenous farmers in the local out-grower program. Ellah Lakes will also develop a feed mill and ethanol processing plant on the site in Adani.

“The development is expected to create a minimum of 5,000 jobs over the next 24 months, and work is scheduled to begin immediately,” a part of the statement disclosed.

“This is a significant landmark for the company in fulfilling our strategic objective of diversifying our portfolio and production base, and we are very excited to be working with the Enugu State Government.

“We are very pleased with this collaboration with the very progressive government of Enugu State. For us, this is the beginning of a great journey to expand the industrial base of the state, and we look forward to a mutually beneficial, valuable and fruitful venture,” Mr Mordi was quoted as saying.

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Economy

Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Rewards Customers

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Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers scheme

Ahead of the festive season, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, Nigeria’s largest Pension Fund Administrator (PFA), has unveiled the Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Loyalty Program tagged Umatter.

It is a reward scheme targeted at the customers of the PFA, to reward them for their loyalty and patronage through exclusive discounts as they shop with their e-loyalty card.

The loyalty program is available at the PFA’s partner merchants’ locations and stores across the nation. It is aimed at providing Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers’ customers with exciting shopping discounts to help them spend less and save more when they shop.

Some of the participating merchant outlets are Maybrands, Café Royale, Hubmart Stores, Chocolate Royal, La Campagne Tropicana, Physio Centers of Africa, Medplus, iStore, Oriki, Launderland and Active Leisure.  The discounts range from 5 to 12 per cent on products and services purchased.

Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers’ partnerships with these major outlets will enable customers to seamlessly enjoy instant discounts on their purchases during this festive period, thereby making life even more easy and affordable for customers who use the Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers e-loyalty card.

Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers will continue to initiate valuable programs like this that encourage people to continue saving for their retirement and building their financial future.

New and existing customers can be a part of this exciting loyalty program by visiting www.stanbicibtcpension.com or calling 01 271 6000.

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Economy

FG to Inject N381trn into Economy to Create Job, Tackle Poverty

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Nigeria Economy challenges

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government is partnering with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to inject N381 trillion into the economy to cushion the growing rate of poverty, job losses and economic degradation in Nigeria.

This was disclosed by the Director-General of the Fund, Mr Joseph Ari, during a media interaction with the Correspondent Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Jos.

Mr Ari said the federal government came up with a 5-year National Development Plan tied around the sum of money to be able to achieve this aim.

He said the plan will replace the initial Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP).

According to him: “The plan, which projects the creation of 21 million jobs, with 35 million Nigerians lifted out of poverty, affordable housing for Nigerians and an export-led economy among others, is expected to cost N381 trillion to implement and have six focal areas of economic growth and development, infrastructure, public administration, human capital development, social development and regional development.

“As the leading human capital development institution in Nigeria, we have commenced the process of repositioning our programmes and activities to effectively prepare the Nation’s workforce in line with our mandate of developing a pool of qualified Nigerians to man the public and private sectors of the national economy as we believe that for this plan to succeed, all Nigerians as individual citizens and as institutions must contribute their bit.

“You will recall that on the assumption of office in 2016, the economy was in recession leading to massive job losses and corresponding increases in poverty.

“Our initiatives then particularly the emphasis on skills intervention programmes was borne out of the need to drive the actualization of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP), which we achieved to an appreciable degree by training hundreds of thousands of Nigerians that are today gainfully employed or even employers of labour,” Mr Ari said.

He, however, lauded the media for a robust coverage of the Funds activities over the years, saying that the media has been critical in return of peace in the state.

“Beyond this, fora such as we are holding today have been critical to the return of peace in plateau state, thereby creating the necessary environment for our organisation to thrive especially within the last five years on account of your professionalism and determined efforts to rise above sensationalism, headline-grabbing and petty politics,” Mr Ari said.

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