Wednesday 10, May 2017 by William Mullally

Tunisia sets up task force with Nasdaq Dubai to pave way for issuing first Sukuk

The government of Tunisia together with Bourse de Tunis and Nasdaq Dubai have set up a task force to pave the way for Tunisia’s first ever issuance of a Sukuk.

The task force is considering commercial, legal and regulatory issues including Shari'ah-compliance, so that Tunisia can create a solid framework for capital-raising through selling Islamic bonds to domestic and international investors.

Nasdaq Dubai, the MENA region’s international financial exchange, is providing the task force with global expertise, as the world’s largest exchange for Sukuk listings. Tunisian members of the task force include the Head of Government’s Office, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Development, Central Bank, Financial Market Council and Bourse de Tunis.

Bilel Sahnoun, Chief Executive Officer of Bourse de Tunis, said, “The task force will work speedily and thoroughly, to help us create robust infrastructure for Sukuk issuance that will give the government and Tunisian private sector a valuable new tool for raising capital. Tunisia’s entry into the Sukuk sector will promote international and domestic investment and confidence in our economy that will help to fund our national growth and development.”  

Hamed Ali, Chief Executive of Nasdaq Dubai, said, “We greatly appreciate this opportunity to add our experience to the task force, drawing on our expertise in working with issuers and their advisers to bring Sukuk listings to the exchange from across the MENA region as well as East Asia. Tunisia’s commitment to issuing Sukuk will play an important role in the continuing global expansion of the sector, as more countries and more investors make use of its benefits as an effective Shari'ah-compliant capital markets tool.”

A recent meeting of the task force discussed legal and regulatory matters as well as challenges that will be faced by first-time Sukuk issuers and how they can be overcome. The workshop included input from the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, Emirates NBD Capital, the investment banking arm of Emirates NBD bank, and Menacorp, one of the largest brokers in UAE.

The task force will consult a range of Tunisian and overseas potential issuers, banks, lawyers and investors, in order to create an efficient issuance framework that meets the commercial requirements of the market for streamlined capital-raising and investment, both for the public sector and the private sector.

In March 2017 Nasdaq Dubai and Bourse de Tunis signed a Memorandum of Understanding for collaboration on listings and Islamic finance solutions.

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