Again, Sanusi defends Islamic banking

By The Rainbow

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has again defended the introduction of  the Islamic Banking System in Nigeria, saying it is vital to the country’s infrastructural development.

Introduction of Islamic banking, one of Sanusi's signature achievements, was controversial. Nigerian Christians saw the action as  a violation of the secular balance of the country, which is about equally divided between Christians and Muslims.

Sanusi at the international conference on Islamic Finance organised by The Metropolitan Skills Limited, Abuja, said that the banking system was overtly beneficial to Nigeria.

The governor was represented at the occasion by his Personal Assistant on Islamic Banking, Dr. Bashir Aliyu Umar.

He said the Islamic Finance asset-backed and asset-based financing instruments to fund infrastructural needs would go a long way in promoting financial inclusion, enhancing the productive capacity of the nation and by extension, contribute to its economic development.

In the Governor's view, the theme of the conference 'Infrastructure Development through Alternative Funding(Islamic Finance) in Africa', was appropriate and timely.

According to him, the current low level of infrastructural development experienced in most African countries as well as dwindling sources of finance especially in the aftermath of the global financial crises needed urgent attention.

Sanusi, however, that Public-Private Partnership (PPP) was a good approach to funding of infrastructure in Africa, saying it was a good thing that the  current administration in Nigeria had already embraced the method.

He said there was  the financial resource required to fund infrastructural development was huge, and that government and the banking system might not be able to provide the needed it  alone; considering the gestation of the projects as well as the risk of crowding out the private sector.

He said, 'A very good approach to funding of infrastructure in Africa is through the PPP, which the current administration in Nigeria has already embraced. This provides a window under Islamic finance asset-backed and asset-based financing instruments to fund infrastructural needs, which will go a long way in promoting financial inclusion', he added.

In his remarks,  MSC Coordinator Islamic Finance, Faculty of Islamic Studies, Qatar, Prof. Monzer Kahf described Islamic Finance as a depository institution of financial intermediary specialised in providing finance on sale, lease or sharing bases which is committed to the Islamic Shari’ah criteria of financial transactions especially realism, morality as well as prohibition of interest.

Kahf, , who was one of the guest speakers,  condemned the misrepresentation of  the Islamic Banking in some quarters.