Nigeria’s first licenced Islamic bank, Jaiz Bank Plc, has commenced full operation of non-interest commercial banking in Nigeria from three branches in Abuja, Kaduna and Kano.
A staff of the bank in Abuja Office said most of the early customers were groups of business institutions and private individuals from different religious persuasions making enquiries as well as opening different accounts.
The officer in Operations Department said the service of the bank was opened to everyone that is interested in the non-interest products.
The introduction of Islamic banking is part of a drive by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to propel Nigeria’s economy and promote financial inclusion by introducing alternative products. The non-interest regime offers veritable incentives and attractive options for investors.
At its inaugural Annual General Meeting (AGM), Chairman of Jaiz Bank, Alhaji Umar Mutallab said: “The whole idea of the banking option is to bring more people into banking in Nigeria that provides banking without interest.”
Mutallab, who was Chairman of FirstBank, further added: “This kind of banking is for all religions because no religion wouldn’t want to help, especially funding critical project without using interest elements.
Whether it is Christianity or Judaism, every community wants to borrow money without being bugged down with multi-layer interest structure.
“This banking option is a product with a difference. We hope our brothers from the divide will see it as an ethical bank which is not meant to promote a particular religion. It is for all Nigerians and not Muslims alone. Once you have a viable project proposal which is ethical, which doesn’t cater for such things as liquor, gambling etc, it becomes a halal (lawful) project and would be looked into by the bank.”
Islamic banking, also known as participant banking, is banking activity that is consistent with the principles of Islamic law and its practical application through the development of Islamic economics. The system prohibits the fixed or floating payment or acceptance of specific interest or fees like usury for loans of money.