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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Christians and Muslims must join together to run Islamic bank —Sanusi

Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Lamido Sanusi yesterday assured the Nigerians that the Bank is for all Nigerians,
regardless of religious affiliation.

Sanusi urged Nigerians not to be apprehensive or be too emotional about the word ‘Islam Banking’, saying the bank is for both Christians and Muslims and does not rest solely on Islamic faith.

The CBN boss, who gave the clarification at the weekend during a special lecture for the over 2000-2011 batch "B" members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) held at the Ise/Orun/Emure-Ekiti, Permanent Orientation Camp in Ekiti State, pointed out that the new Islamic bank was like any other commercial banks in the country.

Represented by the branch controller, Ado-Ekiti, Mr Samuel Ogungbayi, Mallam Sanusi said what makes the bank different from other commercial banks was the fact that it is operated without interest rate, while the banker shares profit and loss with the customers.

Sanusi whose lecture was on "Youth Empowerment As A Tool for Sustainable Development: The Central Bank of Nigeria Interventions", indicated that the problem of the global economic down turn necessitated the lecture meant to prepare the youths ready to confront the unemployment palaver that is currently ravaging the country.

He was of the opinion that increased investment in youth development yields greater economic growth and social well being for generations to come, while missing investments in young people’s intellectual and young man potential are a missed opportunity for generations and also costly to reverse, both for youth and society.

Besides, according to him, based on the Islamic rules and regulations, the Islamic bank forbids whoever seeks to access its loan to use it to establish Brewery, Casino or any other business that is purely against the tenet of Islam.

"Islamic banking as one of the models of non-interest banking provides financial services similar to conventional financial institutions save that it operates in accordance with principles and rules of profit and loss sharing and the prohibition of interest charges.

"The Islamic financial system is estimated to be $1.0 trillion of global industry, and that the rating agency, Moody has forecasted that the industry could hit $5 trillion over time," he said.

Describing the bank as one of the most embraced banking systems in the Europe and America, and with which Malaysia and Indonesia have already experienced rapid growth, Sanusi said Nigerians were only entertaining the fears because of the Islam carries by the bank.

While urging Nigerians not to be apprehensive or be too emotional about the new banking system, he said the non-interest banking framework was necessitated by the effect of global meltdown that castrated the Nigeria financial system and slowed down the growth of the economy.

He said given the increasing number of requests from persons, banks and other financial institutions, the CBN has developed the guidelines for the regulation and supervision of institutions that intend to offer Islamic financial services.

Speaking further on the CBN intervention on the youth empowerment, Sanusi said the interventions were focused on creating enabling environment, including access to long term financing by youth entrepreneurs, young businesses and start-ups along the business value chain.

He said the programmes were also carefully crafted to assist in channeling the energies of the youth, particularly post-NYSC, into positive and productive activities by empowering them in a manner that addresses widespread youth unemployment and poverty, and promote sustainable development.

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