By Lukman Olabiyi


A professor of Risk Management and Insurance at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof Tajudeen Yusuf, has said that no country can develop when 60 per cent of its population is financially excluded.

He said that more than 60 per cent of Nigeria’s population is out of the financial system, which has brought about stunted growth and development.

Yusuf, who spoke during the official opening of the first Islamic microfinance bank in the country, Hayat Trust Non-interest Microfinance Bank, explained that part of the significant roles of Islamic microfinance bank system is financial inclusion aimed at providing financial services to those who are traditionally excluded from the formal financial sector.

These banks, according to him, ensure that individuals from all socio-economic backgrounds have access to financial resources.

The don noted that one of the primary objectives of Islamic microfinance is poverty alleviation by providing small-scale financing to entrepreneurs and small businesses, among others.

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He, therefore, stressed the need for a concerted effort for more Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to grow to boost the nation’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and reduce unemployment in the society.

“As it is happening in the banking sector, the same is happening in the insurance sector, capital market as well as asset management because of its inclusiveness.

“Islamic microfinance banks play a significant role in the society, particularly in regions where conventional banking services are not readily accessible or where there is a large Muslim population seeking Sharia-compliant financial services,” he said.

He further said that because of its inclusiveness nature and what Islamic banking stands for, the World Bank could not close its eyes for its developmental progress.

He said that the United Kingdom had been seeking to become the epicentre of Islamic finance in the world because of pivotal roles the banking institutions had played in boosting the economy of each nation.

Meanwhile, President of the foundation, Dr. Asif Olatubosun Azeez, who spoke earlier during the event, emphasised the pivotal roles played by Hayat Trust Non-Interest Microfinance Bank in fostering community development, and contributing to socio-economic stability in Nigeria.