Manifestos are to identify the needs of people and provide solutions especially when the political parties engage the people before proffering solutions.
On page 30 paragraph m, of the People’s Manifesto,the NDC promised the introduction of non-interest bearing financial products popularly called Islamic financial products. This principle is rooted in Christianity and Islamic religions. In Deuteronomy 23:19, the people were admonished not to charge interest on loans to their neighbours. This principle gave way to the current conventional banking by the end of the 14th Century.
In 1963, this principle was revived in Egypt which gave birth to the current non-interest-bearing financial products. About 90% of Islamic States have conventional banks offering both interest-bearing and non- interest-bearing financial products. Thus, religious affiliations should not influence the introduction of such products. Morocco, for example, issued Islamic banking license for the first time in 2017 to about five banks due to the diversified benefits.
Why introduce it?
The introduction is occasioned by the need expressed by some participants in the financial sector since 2004. The introduction was not considered over the past 16 years because of genuine misunderstandings and inappropriate legal and regulatory regimes in Ghana. There is now adequate knowledge about interest-free financial products. Almost all Universities in Ghana teach interest-free banking in Finance programmes. Professional bodies such as ACCA, ICAG and CIMA as well as banking professional bodies teach and examine their candidates in Islamic finance.
In many economies, the introduction is driven largely by the desire of economic agents for whom the economy is being managed.
Now, politicians, religious leaders, regulators and legislators have a firm appreciation that this financial principle is in the interest of all and the economy because it provides financial products diversification and enhanced choice for customers and entrepreneurs. Financial intermediaries will have new business lines and promote deeper financial intermediation. In Africa, the major economies such as Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya created the environment for commercial banks to deal in interest-free financial products.