By Landing Ceesay
The University of the Gambia Islamic Finance Students’ Association (UTG-IFSA) on Wednesday, November 30th, 2022, held a seminar at the University of the Gambia Law Faculty Auditorium to sensitize the public on Islamic Finance.
The theme of the seminar -“Creating Awareness For Islamic Finance” is centered around creating awareness of Islamic Finance within the community. The event was singularly focused on creating multiplier effects to bridge the gap in awareness of Islamic Finance that currently exist within the country, with the hope of spreading the knowledge of Islamic finance and the institutions that provide it.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Momodou Mustapha Fanneh, Dean, of the School of Business and Public Administration at the University of the Gambia, made reference to the upward trajectory of the Islamic finance sector in the country during the current fiscal year 2022, prompting the Central Bank to publish guidelines regulating their operations.
“The year 2022 witness a tremendous success in the Islamic financial system in the country. For the first time Central Bank has issued the guideline for the regulation and supervision of Islamic Financial Institutions covering banking, Takaful Operation, and Microfinance”-
These Central Bank guidelines, Dr. Fanneh observed, will come into effect on January 1st, 2023, with regulations covering fundamental areas including but not limited to Shariah governance, financial reporting, product development, etc.
“The Guideline will come into effect on January 1, 2023. The guideline covers key areas including shariah governance, financial reporting, product development, etc. The guideline is expected to complement the current regulatory framework and enhance the reputation of the Islamic Financial Institutions (IFIs) as well as consolidate the confidence of customers in the products and services offered by these institutions.”
Despite the upward trajectory in the sector, Dr. Fanneh referred to capacity constraints, especially in the human resources realm.
“However, the country continues to grapple with capacity issues, especially Shariah Advisors and products Development Specialist in the sector,” Dr. Fanneh told the gathering.
In his address to the gathering, Dr. Bilal Philips, a renowned Islamic scholar, said both Islam and Christianity forbid excessive profit-making in business.
The seminar was attended by a cross section of the public. Also, present where representatives of institutions plying Islamic and Micro Finance in the country.