Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Islamic Bonds Will Improve Capital Market - Oteh

Lagos — The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said Islamic finance and sukuk bond would be part of the new products to be introduced into the Nigerian capital market.

Director General of the commission, Ms. Arunma Oteh who stated this recently in Lagos during the 2013 maiden media briefing said the product would help improve the capital market.

She said the SEC will build 2013 strategic focus around three themes which include financial inclusion, innovation and effectiveness.

According to her, "We need to reach out to the large numbers of Nigerians who have yet to take advantage of the opportunities in the capital market, through collective investment schemes and new products such as Islamic finance and sukuk bond, while supporting SMEs."

Oteh said the commission's target is to sustain the recovery of the market and grow a world class market that is robust and "has depth and breadth, and is perceived as fair, transparent and built on integrity."

"The government needs finance to provide critical infrastructure, quality healthcare, education, security," she said.

It is estimated that Nigeria's housing deficit exceeds 16 million units, yet Nigeria has only about 50,000 mortgages or 0.7 per cent of our GDP in mortgage assets.

This country also has 80 million hectares of arable land, and it is estimated that only 40 per cent of it is under cultivation, mostly in the form of non-mechanised farming. Yet Nigeria has to feed a growing population, currently at 160 million, and is already the largest importer of rice worldwide.

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