Following the alarm the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) raised over Sukuk bond, alleging that it was a plot to Islamise the country, the Federal Government has clarified that there is no such plot.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who stated this on the sidelines of an investor conference organised by Stanbic IBTC Bank in Lagos, explained that the recent issuance of N100 billion Sukuk bond by the Federal Government was in no way a plot to Islamise the country.
CAN had last week alerted that the Sukuk bond which offer for subscription closed last Friday, was part of the agenda of the present administration to Islamise the country.
But in her response, Adeosun said that several countries of the world including South Africa had issued sukuk bonds in the past. She further explained that Nigeria’s plan to issue the Sukuk bond commenced about six years ago, long before the current President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration came into power.
According to her, the sukuk bond is among the many products being introduced by the current administration to deepen the country’s financial market.
“Sukuk is part of our programme to deepen the financial market. Interestingly, it predated us. The committee started work in 2011. So, they have been working on it for six years, to structure products that would be compliant. Really, the Sukuk is about two things -one is about raising money and deepening the financial market.
“We need to include many people in the market to raise the money that is needed for infrastructure. We have already introduced the savings bond which is for small investors. They were saying that the process of getting into government securities was too complex. So, we made the product for them.. And this is another product. We have other products that we are coming up with. So, there is no religious driver behind it. It is really a financial product to meet financial needs.
“This particular one of N100 billion is going to be used for road projects. We have identified the road projects that it is going to be tied to and there is no religious attachment to it. South Africa even did a sovereign Sukuk before Nigeria. So, there is no Islamisation agenda at all,” she said.
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