Lagos Ã¢â‚¬â€ The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has granted a preliminary licence to Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc to provide Islamic banking services to the Nigerian populace.
The Governor of the CBN, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, also disclosed that it was considering a request from Standard Chartered Bank to undertake Islamic banking.
Sanusi said with the award of the licence, Stanbic IBTC is expected to commence Islamic banking within six months, failure of which the licence becomes void, requiring that the bank reapply to the CBN for similar licence.
Also speaking in an interview in South Africa, CBN Deputy Governor, Mr Kingsley Moghalu, noted that the licence, the first to be issued to any bank in Nigeria, would give the bank the opportunity to participate in the Sharia-compliant banking window, which forbids paying and receiving interest on loans, enabling the bank to churn out Islamic banking products
Islamic banking also requires that profits or losses are shared with the borrower, which discourages unnecessary speculation and spread risk.
He said: “We know a number of other banks are interested in applying for non-interest banking windows. We are preparing our officials to be able to regulate that space, and a lot of training is taking place in that context.
On the religious implication of Islamic banking, Moghalu said: “This is a financial product. It has got nothing to do with religion.”
Sanusi had informed the financial community earlier in the year that government was committed to establishing Nigeria as the African hub for Islamic banking