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Sunday, May 11, 2014

ISLAMIC BANKING IN NIGERIA: SIX YEARS OF LOTUS HALAL FUND




   Lotus capital is a pioneer in the field of Islamic fund management being the first institution in the country to lunch halal management fund in 2008 when it made its initial public offering to the public. Since that time the fund has achieved a lot including the revolutionary lunching of Islamic shares index in association with the management of the Nigeria stock exchange in 2012. Its Halal fund has attracted patronage from across the country, with investors cutting across all faith. Among other activities of Lotus capital is giving advise to state governments on how to manage their budgets and avoid budget deficit through the use of Sukuk, the Islamic bond that do not use interest. The first Sukuk issued in Nigeria by the state of Osun in South West Nigeria was managed by Lotus as the leading issuing house of the project. At the end of the issuing in October 2013, a total N11.4 Billion was realized. Among the major investors in the Sukuk issue is Jaiz Bank Plc, the first fully fledged Islamic Bank in the country.

    For a country the size of Nigeria with a population of over 170 million people not lest than half of them belonging to the Islamic religion, it is surprising that there are only two major institutions in the country who called themselves Islamic financial institutions. looking at the size of Nigerian economy being recently ranked the biggest economy on the continent with annual GDP of half trillion Dollar, the country should ideally have sizable number of Islamic financial service players running their businesses in the country. Thus, the ideal thing to do for a country like Nigeria is not to depend on only Jaiz and Lotus as the only two major players in the field. While all business people who care much about ethics and their business shall patronized them, efforts shall be made to see that many others like them come on stream. This will go along way in ensuring the survival of the system in the country and ensure that the country and its people benefit from this unique system of financial and business transaction.