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Thursday, 8 January 2009

Islamic Banking To Reduce Impact Of Global Financial Crisis – Expert

As global financial crisis lingers, Islamic banking is fast gaining grounds as a possible means of alleviating its impact because of its departure from pure capitalist approach to investment, a financial expert has said.
Managing Director of Lotus Capital Limited, Mrs. Hajara Adeola who made this remark while addressing newsmen, noted that most Sharia compliant investments were insulated from the financial crisis because they were not exposed to the vagaries of conventional interest-based investments.
She also noted that based on the success of Islamic financing during the world financial crisis, even the UN is discussing the possibility of such investment option.
According to her, Islamic financing presents huge investment options and opportunities to Nigeria with a population of over 140 million and approximately 90 million with an interest in the non-interest, ethical financial products, and services.
She said following the success recorded by Lotus Capital within a short period of choosing the Islamic financing option suggests a burgeoning market prospect in Nigeria .
Adeola further stated that, the Halal Fund the company offered for public subscription, is the first Shari'ah Compliant Mutual Fund registered by the Securities and Exchange Commission
The company she said recorded 31 per cent and 38.9 per cent growth levels in 2006 and 2007 respectively and promises more growth in the future based on the level of acceptance of the product.
To further promote the concept of Islamic financing, Lotus Capital, she said has finalised arrangement for organising seminars on how best to use Islamic banking for infrastructural development.
The theme of the seminar which would be held on January 15, 2009 is tagged "Islamic finance, an alternative approach to project finance and infrastructure development" and will feature renowned Islamic finance experts like Professor Monzer Kahf and Neilm D. Miller.
The seminar holding at the Muson Centre she also noted is designed to provide would be practitioners of Islamic finance - government, bankers, lawyers, capital market operators, regulators, insurers and the general public, with an understanding of the great potential that Islamic finance represents for infrastructure development meanwhile the company last year offered for subscription, 1,000,000,000 units of funds of N1.00 at the rate of N1.00 each.
The fund was an open-ended unit trust scheme designed for investors that wish to invest in a shari'ah compliant fund committed to the adherence to the strict code of ethics of the Islamic laws.
The key objective of the fund, according to the company was to achieve long term capital growth with steady income targeted at 20 per cent per annum.
The funds assets, according to the offer prospectus, shall be invested in other assets including equities, non interest government and corporate bonds and real estate.
It does not guarantee a minimum return but the manager would employ its expertise and knowledge of the financial market to ensure that the funds assets are invested in quality instruments which would provide attractive returns.
However, the minimum amount that could be invested in the fund is N20, 000 and subsequent multiples of N10,000.
The Lotus Capital Halal Investment fund, offer recorded the highest level of subscription to mutual fund in Nigeria as it recorded 278 per cent over subscription.

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