Nigerian Central Bank Governor Makes Case for Islamic Banking

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has said that Islamic Banking would create an enabling environment for attracting the multi billion dollars global Islamic finance industry to Nigeria.

He said in Kaduna at a Ramadan Symposium organized by the Movement for Islamic Culture and Awareness (MICA) on Sunday that Islamic Banking would also  enable Nigerians to benefit from shari’a compliant banking services and products.

He expressed the readiness of the CBN to the development of an Islamic bank in the Nigeria, adding that the current global financial crisis had exposed the deficiencies in the conventional banking system.

According to him, the current global meltdown had severely undermined and damaged the confidence in the global governance system but with crisis comes opportunities.

The current financial crisis, he added, had provided scholars, lawmakers and bankers the opportunity to reassess the opportunities provided by Islamic finance.

His words: “In recognition of the benefits of Islamic banking in a growing economy like Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) initiated actions to develop a regulatory and supervisory framework for Islamic (non Interest) banking in Nigeria.”

 “Draft policy framework towards the establishment of the Islamic financial industry in the country was issued in March 2009 and is currently being reviewed for eventual release to the industry as a final document.In keeping with its commitment to promote the development of Islamic banking in Nigeria, the CBN intends to pursue the following strategies to address some of the identified challenges.”

“Extensive capacity building through collaboration amongst the various stakeholders to develop cognate expertise in non interest banking; development of an adequate regulatory and supervisory framework for the effective operation of non interest banking in Nigeria.”

“Promotion of greater cooperation and coordination among relevant regulators and other stakeholders such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Nigeria Accounting Standards Board (NASB), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Federal Ministry of Finance, the National Assembly etc that may have important roles to play in the successful implementation of Islamic banking in Nigeria.”

“Sensitizing the general public through conferences, seminars, workshops etc on the benefits to be gained from Islamic finance”.

“The prospects of the budding Islamic finance industry in the country can be seen by the growing number of investors and banks wishing to operate Islamic banking concept; recognition of the Islamic banking concept by the banks and other financial institutions Act 1991 as amended and significant Muslims and non Muslim population majority of which yearn for Islamic finance service.”

"From the resilient nature of Islamic finance, it is quite evident that the opportunities are enormous as well as the challenges, adding that the challenges are in three fronts of theoretical, operational and implementation,"he said.

Each of these challenges,he said, had profound implications for the development and the future direction of Islamic finance, adding that, “looking ahead, it is envisaged that Islamic finance will form a significant part of the Nigerian financial landscape”.

The organizers of the symposium ,he said ,should  come up with workable suggestions and strategies that would assist the CBN to provide a conducive and enabling environment for Islamic finance in Nigeria.
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