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#Nigerian Banks Should Embrace Islamic Finance, By Rafiq Raji

In August 2017, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced two liquidity management instruments for non-interest financial institutions, a Funding for Liquidity Facility (FfLF) and Intra-day Facility (IDF). In a February 2017 report, the IMF mentioned the lack of such sharp liquidity instruments as a key risk to the financial systems of countries where there are Islamic banks. Therefore, the CBN’s recent move is a welcome development. More Nigerian banks would be wise to have Islamic banking windows, but they must be mindful of some potential pitfalls. Customers might be sceptical about whether the bank is truly able to separate its Islamic banking arm from its interest-earning entities. There is also the possibility of regulatory arbitrage, where the bank potentially transfers risk between the two arms, depending on which is favourable. The CBN seems well-geared to handle such potential abuses.

Islamic Development Bank opens Nigeria office

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group formally opened its Nigeria Country Gateway Office in Abuja. The new office has the mission to focus its services on health, agriculture, infrastructure, small and medium-scale enterprise and regional integration. IDB President Ahmad Ali said the group’s presence in Nigeria would strengthen socio-economic, technical and commercial cooperation between the bank and member countries in Africa. He added that this was important with the completion of the last portion of Trans Saharan Road linking Algiers in North Africa and Lagos. The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun urged the IDB to support Nigeria’s effort to reconstruct the North East part of Nigeria devastated by years of militancy by insurgent group, Boko Haram.

Nigeria to issue maiden Islamic financial bond, ‘Sukuk’

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has reached an agreement with the Debt Management Office (DMO) to issue Nigeria’s maiden sovereign Sukuk. The decision by the two government agencies to collaborate to issue the Sukuk was a major outcome of the visit of the Director General of SEC, Mounir Gwarzo to the DMO on Wednesday. The visit was a return gesture to a similar exercise by the Director General of DMO, Abraham Nwankwo, in November last year. Mr. Nwankwo revealed that issuing a sovereign Sukuk has been part of the institution’s strategic plan drawn three years ago, urging Nigerians to support SEC to building capacity in order to realize the goal of issuing Nigeria’s first sovereign Sukuk in 2016.

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