The director-general of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Mounir Gwarzo, has said the total assets under management in the global Islamic finance industry had surpassed N394 trilliion ($2 trillion) by 2014.
Gwarzo disclosed this at the second Regional Roundtable on Non-Interest Capital Market in Sokoto, yesterday, saying, also the global sukuk market continues to witness remarkable growth since after the 2008 global financial crisis as annual issuances have grown from $15 billion in 2008 to almost $120 billion in 2014.
He said that the focus of the roundtable was on ‘Sukuk’ – one of the most important components of the Islamic financial system saying that While most people identify capital markets as an important source of medium-to-long term capital, few realise the amazing potential of capital markets to serve as a catalyst for financial inclusion.
“SEC is determined to unlock this potential of the Nigerian Capital Market. In particular, we are aware of the need to deepen the non-interest capital market space. This is to enable millions of Nigerians and people of faith to invest savings ethically. Investors worldwide are increasingly allocating their resources into Islamic finance products,” Gwarzo said.
He noted that 2015 was widely considered a landmark year for Islamic finance, especially with landmark debut sukuk issuances by countries such as the UK, Hong Kong, Senegal, South Africa, and Luxemburg.
He added that the year also witnessed continued strong interest from key markets of Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and emerging markets like Turkey and Indonesia, saying that there is no doubt that the sukuk market is emerging on a global scale as a viable alternative source of funding.
In Nigeria, Gwarzo said the SEC has implemented a number of reforms aimed at deepening the non-interest capital market. For example, he said the Commission focused on the regulatory framework, reviewing the Rules and introducing new ones.
The director-general said that state governments could leverage on the Sukuk market to raise funds for developmental projects.
Going forward, Gwarzo said the focus of the SEC will be on massive public enlightenment and also stronger capacity building initiatives adding that is what informed the idea of hosting regional roundtable events such as the Roundtable
“We are working closely with the Debt Management Office (DMO) to ensure Nigeria issues her first sovereign sukuk that will provide the needed benchmark for other categories of issuers. We are hopeful there will be a significant progress on this front before the end of 2016,” he said.