By Demola Akinyemi
Ilorin— The CentralBank of Nigeria, CBN, has allayed fears that the introduction of non-interest banking into the system would turn Nigeria into an Islamic country, stressing that Islamic banking is one of so many non-interest banking systems contained in the CBN laws.
Deputy Governor, Economic Policy of CBN, Mrs Sera Omotunde Alade, said this, weekend, in Ilorin while speaking with newsmen at a retreat organised for the Financial Market Department with the theme: ”Transforming the Nigerian Financial Market: Prospects and Challenges.‘’
According to her, apart from the Islamic banking, which is a non interest banking system contained in the laws of the bank, there are other forms of non-interest banking for which interested parties can come forward to get licence.
She said what was contained in the law is non-interest banking which is synonymous to Islamic banking but that giving licences to operate Islamic banks does not have anything to do with changing the country into an Islamic nation.
Alade also said what the country was interested in was how to change the face of banking in a way that the economy could grow for the betterment of all Nigerians.
She urged all Nigerians to see the licensing of the non-interest banking in the country as a new step to move the country’s economy to a greater height.
She also called on those who are interested in other forms of non- interest banking to come forward for licence from the apex bank.
On the issue of financing agriculture by the CBN, the deputy governor said the bank had been assisting commercial farmers with the aim of producing in large quantity for export.
In his address, Director of the Finance Market Department of CBN, Mr Olajide Owolabi, said the CBN created the financial market department in 2010 with the aim of creating a world class market in Nigeria, adding that the department had within this short period achieved a moderate effort in the areas of successes recorded.
He said the retreat would further assist the department and the bank in reviewing their performance and address the challenges created in order to further improve on the efficiency of the financial market .
Earlier in his address of welcome, Branch Controller, Ilorin Branch, Mr Onoriode Monday Olotewo, said the theme of the conference could not be discussed at a place that is more appropriate than the retreat based on the global meltdown in the recent past that had affected the financial market.
He said the Nigerian financial market was not insulated rom such problems as as it had been faced with many challenges.
He urged the participants at the retreat to make good use of the opportunity in ensuring that the challenges facing the financial market are overcome .