Mr Muhammed Muhammed, Chief strategist of Jaiz Bank, says Nigeria embracing the tenets espoused by the Islamic Financial Institution will help in the realisation of the UNDP’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Muhammed, who disclosed this in an interview with NAN, via e-mail on Saturday, said Nigeria had the opportunity to lead the continent using Islamic Finance tools to achieve the SDGs.
Muhammed who recently represented the country at a high level taskforce meeting organised by the British Government and the Islamic Finance Council UK, added that embracing the tenets would definitely reduce poverty in the country.
“The Nigeria clime has already realised the potential of Islamic finance, for instance the overwhelming acceptance and subscription of the Sukuk issued by the Federal government to finance its developmental projects.
“This can surely be replicated in the area of promoting SDGs, by incorporating innovative Islamic finance products of alleviating poverty.’’
He said that the world was looking to Islamic Finance to achieve the SDGs and Nigeria should play a prominent role in spearheading efforts to use the available tools for the SDGs in Africa.
“We should join others in charting a roadmap for governments the world over as they strive to make the SDGs realistic for economic growth.
“The value proposition of Islamic Finance has always been in its impact and the relation to real economy, which is supposed to have a multiplier effect on economic growth and development.
“In essence, Islamic finance tenets are totally in conformance with the overall aims and objectives of the SDGs.
They will therefore strengthen the SDG initiatives, rather than diminishing them.’’
He said that Nigeria should tap into the emerging global liquidity pools seeking SDG-aligned products and increase tactical alignment with development bank funders.
“There exist several opportunities such as the Green Sukuk, which is one investment that paves a way towards more climate-friendly investments and similarly, the aspect of Islamic Social Responsible Investing and green finance which we should tap into.’’
He enumerated more specific ways that Nigeria could help in leading the efforts to apply the Islamic financial tools for SDGs in Africa to include modelling the federal government’s Islamic-finance-embedded programmes to other African countries.
“Nigeria stands out in the area of Islamic finance among other African countries.
“As such the country has the ability to facilitate knowledge sharing within the continent, extending technical and capacity initiatives to other African countries,’’ he added.
Muhammed noted that the emergence and track record of Jaiz Bank had demonstrated the great potential that were embedded in the Islamic Finance Products and Services.
He, however, added that other areas such as the inter-faith dialogue initiatives could be further explored in order to achieve greater benefit.