Daily Trust (Abuja)

8 April 2010

Nigeria: 'Islamic Banking Will Bail Out Nation's Economy'

An Islamic group-Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)-has called on the Federal government to expedite action on the grant of licences for the operation of Islamic banks in the country.

The Director of the group Dr. Is-haq Akintola said when granted the permit, the banks should be national rather than regional as proposed by the Governor of the Central Bank Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. According to him, Islamic banking system is the only way to bail out the nation's economy from the wood.

He reasoned that it is unwise for the country to continue to rely on Western banking system alone given the havoc wreaked on Nigeria's economy by the international financial agencies through its inhuman imposition of compound interest.

"MURIC wishes to remind Nigerian authorities that Western banking system with its obnoxious high interest rate based on laissez faire was responsible for the worldwide economic downturn which began in 2008. Licentiousness among the managerial cadre which is the hallmark of the conventional banking system added fuel to the financial conflagration which engulfed the whole West, including many Third world countries.

"We borrowed $5 billion up till 1985. By year 2000 we had paid $16 billion which is three times above what we owed. Yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) told us we still owed $32 billion! It was for this reason that former President Olusegun Obasanjo called Western compound interest, "the worst evil in the world".

Stating that Starting an Islamic bank which is based on zero rate of interest will give Nigeria the chance to try an alternative to the 'worst evil', the MURIC boss said several Nigerian Muslims who have been eager to put their money in halal (acceptable by Islamic standard) accounts will have the opportunity to do so.

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