Ethical entrepreneurs call for interest-free loan for inclusive development 



By Rebecca Akinkanju

Ethical entrepreneurs have called on the Federal Government to exemplify its commitment to the development of alternative finance through inclusion of non-interest windows in its various loan and intervention funding programmes.

Ethical entrepreneurs and financial experts who participated in a webinar on financial inclusion in Nigeria and government’s intervention funds called on government to adopt inclusive approach that combines both conventional and ethical finances in order to ensure inclusive development of the economy.

They underscored the need for government to continue to deepen the non-interest alternative finance segment of the financial market through massive awareness campaign, inclusion within development finance initiatives and special purpose intervention to bolster the emerging segment.

In a communiqué issued at the end of the programme organised by Network of Muslimah Entrepreneurs, participants agreed that having discovered the knowledge gap on ethical finance, it becomes obligatory to bring the attention of the stakeholders in financial sector to the huge section of the citizens left uncovered by various government interventions in Nigeria.

The communiqué was signed by National President, Jumai Ajijola; General Secretary, Shakirat Animashaun and Financial Secretary, Saidat Shonoiki of the Network of Muslimah Entrepreneurs.

Participants noted that ethical investors and entrepreneurs, who shun interest because of faith and beliefs, have not been able to benefit from government’s developmental initiatives and intervention funding such as NIRSAL loan, Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM) loan, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) fund, Bank of Industry (BOI) loans, mortgage funds and the recent Covid-19 target fund.

“We therefore use this medium to call on the government at different levels, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and other stakeholders to take into consideration the interest-averse population so as to enhance financial inclusion and prevent poverty, especially among women in line with millennium goals,” the communiqué stated.

The Federal Government had adopted alternative finance as part of the national financial structure with the formulation of non-interest financial frameworks and rules by financial regulators including Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and National Insurance Commission (NAICOM). Nigeria has since issued two sovereign Sukuks, raising N200 billion in the two non-interest instruments.


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