Friday, August 13, 2021 / 11:00 AM / by Bukola
Akinyele-Yisau for WebTV / Header Image Credit: WebTV

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Fintech will improve non-interest SME financing for
Shariah-compliant entrepreneurs in Nigeria with innovative products and
services. Mr. Bashir Yusuf, the Founder/CEO of ‘eTijar’, a non-interest finance
and investment platform, made this point while discussing “Leveraging Fintech
to Deepen Nigeria’s Non-Interest Market”
.

Speaking on the operations and strategy of eTijar in
Nigeria, he said the platform started in 2018 to provide non-interest
shariah-compliant SME financing in Nigeria. This also involves
lending, which is to be done seamlessly without the attendant risks.

According to him, Islamic finance is about
risk-sharing, and eTijar has looked into how its operations can ensure that
people’s investments are safe and risk-free.

He noted that aside from SME financing, ‘eTijar’ is
also focused on personal finance management for ethical investors.

Through its research, eTijar found out that many young
Muslims earning good income lacked the culture of saving or investing. Also, another issue eTijar detected was that there is no technology to cater
for the young population that can enable collaboration with Shariah-compliant
management firms and those in the Islamic banking window.

eTijar developed the platform to appeal to a younger
generation living in rural areas, industry players, fund managers, and Islamic
banks.

For those financially excluded, he pointed out that
eTijar already designed product & services for them to be included and
educate them about Islamic finance and investments before selling the products
to them.

On the investment options available on eTijar and how
individuals can navigate the platform seamlessly, Bashir Yusuf explained that
they have started building an investment screening engine; that helps to
ascertain the form of investments or which equities are shariah compliant.

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Three areas are critical in achieving the screening
and compliance with the market, which includes;

  • Ascertaining
    and telling the users that X and Y companies are
    Shariah-compliant
    to invest in their equities
  • Mutual
    funds are in the market to offer users and
  • Also,
    working with fund managers for the benefit of users.   

Speaking on the
non-interest products available on
the platform, he said it is to help small businesses grow and investors who want to generate returns on their capital ethically.

Bashir stressed that what
eTijar have now is the mutual fund and the equities and is also working with
shariah advisors and banking partners to see the product they can design to
satisfy SMEs.

According to him, their
focus is on Murabaha and Ijarah and concentrate on a particular
market segment such as pharmacies, restaurant operators, etc.

On how eTijar Islamic
fintech can bridge the financial exclusion gap in Nigeria, Bashir said the
platform works on several technologies to support the rural communities through
innovations like biometric or facial recognition. 

The expert said
technology adoption is moving fast, and the capital market needs to adapt
quickly to unlock opportunities in the market.

On the need to gain
investor confidence
and how eTijar aligns with effective risk
management, trust and transparency, he
explained further that all products to be listed in the market would
have certificates from the shariah advisors. Also, they will identify the best
fund managers to work with to make sure that they are doing the right thing
with people’s funds.

 

He added that the benefit
and returns for investing on the eTijar platform allow users to know they are
dealing with profit and not interest. There is a good return on investment, and
investors are assured of it.

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