The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) June 21 has issued
provisional license to Jaiz International Bank to launch Nigeria's
first Islamic bank, a media report said.
The CBN has given the license to
Jaiz International Bank subject to fulfilling the bank authorization
requirements and the revelation that the Nigerian Treasury's Debt
Management Office is studying the possibility of the country
issuing its debut sovereign sukuk within the next one year,
Arab News said.
The bank would operate entirely
under non-interest principles and would also follow the provisions
of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA).
The promoters of Jaiz International
Bank have been given six months to fulfill the requirements
which deal largely with capital requirements of a minimum of 25
billion Naira and of management that pass the “fit and proper”
test, apart from the business plan of the bank.
Though the bank would operate
strictly on non-interest based principles, it would be open to the
Nigerians of all faith traditions. They would not only be able to
open accounts with the bank but would also attend annual general meetings in case
they are shareholders or investors.
Of late, many non-Muslim
jurisdictions have introduced laws or amendments to laws to
facilitate Islamic finance not because for religious reasons but
precisely because it is an alternative form of financial
management and therefore a choice for customers, irrespective of
At the same time it is also a
manifestation of financial inclusion for those who indeed prefer
access to financial products in line with their faith.
The system is successfully running
in countries like UK, France, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Singapore,
Sri Lanka, South Africa and Kenya.
Interestingly, some the clients of Malaysian
Islamic banks are majority non-Muslim Chinese, not because of
religious sentiments but because they have found these products
competitive and ethical alternatives.