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Islamic Finance Assets Leaps to $2 trillion

…Grows at 10-20% Annually

FROM: WALTER UKAEGBU, Abuja

Fresh facts have emerged that Islamic finance industry has expanded rapidly, growing at 10 – 20% annually while “Shariah compliant financial” assets are estimated at $2 trillion, covering bank and  non – bank financial institutions.

Managing Director of Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Nigeria, Alhaji Sani Aminu Dutsinma, made this disclosure, on Thursday, in Abuja during a Sensitization workshop for Journalists on the Fundamentals of Islamic Economics, Banking and Finance Organized by Islamic Banking & Finance Institute Nigeria in Collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists.

According to Dutsinma Islamic banking assets have been growing faster than conventional bank assets while there were increased interest in Islamic finance from countries such as the Uk, Luxembourg, South Africa and Hong Kong.

He stated that within  sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa  led the way with one of the largest international Islamic banking. Conglomerates called Al – Banka Banking Group.

“Since the introduction of Islamic finance in Nigeria some 18 years ago, concerns and apprehensions have been voiced that the introduction might be a poly to Islamize Nigeria. But as at today we are yet to receive any report of religious discrimination  as regards access to any Sharia Complaint products or Serices, he said.

The managing Director said Islamic finance is not reserved for Muslims only as it is not a Muslim finance, as there is no such tag on Islamic finance products either in Nigeria or in any other part of the world.

He explained that the products are designed that the products are designed according to defined principles and vetted by learned scholars, insisting that if one like the product, he adopts it.

Dutsinma called on Nigeria policy makers to recognize Islamic finance as capable of Significantly contributing to economic development, given its direct link to physical assets and real economy.

“The use of profit and loss sharing arrangement encourages the provision of financial support and generates jobs. The emphasis on tangible assets ensures that the industry supports only transactions that serve a real purpose thus discouraging financial speculation “, the emphasized .

He was to the opinion that Islamic finance helps promote financial sector development and broadens financial inclusion by expanding the range and reach of financial products, while helping to improve financial access and foster the inclusion of those deprived of financial services.

The managing director further disclosed that the bank promotes risk-sharing, connects the financial sector with the real economy and emphasizes financial inclusion and social welfare.

According to him the bank offers benefits for economic growth, reducing poverty and fostering shared prosperity. Islamic finance can significantly contribute to economic development growth its direct link to physical assets and the real economy, he stated

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