Sunday, 29 November 2020 03:53

Recession: FG looking for options to run economy, says minister

The Federal Government is considering a variety of options to run the economy in the manner that will enable the country grow on a sustainable basis, Finance, Budget and National Planning Minister, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, said on Saturday.

One of such options, according to her, is the Islamic economic plan on domestic investments.

Hajiya Ahmed said at the launch of the 2020/21 State of the Global Islamic Economy (SGIE) Report (Nigeria) in Abuja that Nigeria has benefitted immensely from its membership of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).

“We see Islamic economy as an option that we have vigorously pursued to encourage domestic investments in Nigeria and also encourage Islamic countries that would be looking for investment opportunities in a large economy like Nigeria with large deficit infrastructure and deficit in development,” she said.

She said Nigeria is the fourth largest investor in the IDB and is there to be able to access financing and, in some cases, grants for some major capital projects.

The minister said: “This membership of IDB also gives us the opportunity to interact with the organisation of Islamic communities, and there are lots of advantages in doing that. Here at home, we have explored IDB and today we have Jaiz Bank and now Taj Bank as well as Fidelity Bank, which has Islamic banking facilities. Other banks are considering that option too.

“This is important because over time, Islamic communities have been excluded from financing opportunity because the Islamic communities do not want to interest varied elements. But now there are options that are available. There is also another option for insurance, and it is Islam compliant.”

The minister noted that lately, the Federal Government has been issuing Sukuk funds, having issued the third round of Sukuk funds in 2020, and they have become extremely popular.

She said that while the government set out to raise N162 billion, it ended up realising about N460 billion, indicating that there is a regular jacket time and domestic resources that are looking for investments that are right for Islamic segment of the nation’s society.

Speaking earlier, the Director Dar Al Halal Nigeria Limited, Nasir Muazu Adamu, said the organisation was set up to promote Halal Trade in Nigeria and between the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries.

According to him, “the initiative is to identify business opportunities for our clients by leveraging on our relationship between the public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy.”

Presenting the report virtually from Dubai, UEA, the Managing Director, DinarStandard, Raffiudin Shikoh, said that the SGIE report is an annual study conducted by Dinar Standard, a strategy research and advisory company registered in the USA with its branch office in Dubai and in partnership with host cities across the OIC countries.

According to him, the SGIE 2020/2021 with the theme “thriving in uncertainty” is the 8th edition and the first of its kind in Nigeria, hosted by Dar Al Halal Nigeria Limited.

According to him, the SGIE report serves as the go-to reference point for investors and policymakers within the OIC member states and the world at large and that the latest report covers 81 countries, up from the previous 73 countries.

While listing the top 15 most ranked countries, Shikoh said that Nigeria ranked 13 ahead of Sri Lanka and Singapore and below the Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Indonesia, who ranked from first to forth positions respectively.

 

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